Friday, November 11, 2005

Carbon trading - the new scam

There's nothing wrong with carbon trading in principle. It's a great way to use natural human greed to save the planet.

But greed, as always, needs sticks as well as carrots.

Here's a summary of some of the problems it has so far:

  • it's too complicated - and therefore expensive

  • the National Allocation Plan amounts are inconsistent and inadequate

  • Joint Implementation (JI) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) paperwork is too bureaucratic

  • for CDM projects like reforestation in the Amazon basin, there is inadequate attention paid to other sustainability aspects

In most countries the way of allocating emission allowances has failed to create incentives for investments in cleaner, more efficient technologies, says a new ILEX Energy Consulting report.

Targets for CO2 reduction in most NAPs are s low that the EU will probably miss its Kyoto targets at this rate.

And according to a coalition of businesses including McDonalds, carbon-capturing tree planting projects in Brazil are using eucalyptus, a tree which, while fast-growing, is an ecological nightmare because it is poisonous to most other species that try to grow in the same space.

The next round of talks needs to tackle these problems urgently - or the ETS risks being seen as just a scam for a few companies to make a big profit and appear green, while wasting everyone else's time.

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