Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dubbya on global warming

Well, OK, it's not actually dubbya, but it is a brilliantly funny spoof video - see ArchNews.

Take this as a no

Watching over the offsetters - Will a voluntary code of conduct make us any more confident when choosing a carbon offset scheme?

Good original post, and some very worthwhile subsequent ones in reply. Hard to add much more of value.

Speaking personally, in answer to your question at the top, even with a voluntary code the answer will still be a resounding 'no'. And such is my faith in officialdom, frankly a mandatory, gov... er... quango (they'll farm it out to create a whole new set of beholden gravy-boaters, plus extra layer of deniability) - endorsed effort wouldn't exactly reassure me much better.

I can't see how they work or even IF they work. There are too many (I'm talking Coffsetters here, not quangos, but similar duplication, cost/benefit concerns apply) and I have no the time to weigh them up. Plus I have no reason to trust most of them, often with good reason, sadly tarring the possible worthy ones with the negative brush.

But as night follows day, I await the next half dozen to soon be announced by either a compliant media, rudderless government or 'buy-off-a-blip' business to help us 'deal' with the consequences of a growing number of us doing stuff and then wanting to do even more.

That is, IF we can afford it.

DEFRA - Benn announces Government offsetting code

Addenda (as promised to reply posters):

These are a couple of press releases that have come in to Junkk.com from the industry by way of response to the above. Hence read them in that light. They are merely what has been supplied and only from those who seem to have us on their mailing lists. As mentioned on the comments section, I don't know enough to offer much beyond how I feel as a consumer:

Carbon Clear response to DEFRA’s draft carbon offset code:

Carbon Clear has always championed transparency & measurable standards within the carbon offset industry. However, even after 12 months of consultation and deliberation we believe the Draft Code of Best Practice for Carbon Offset Providers issued by DEFRA raises as many questions as it answers.

One area of concern is the lack of definition over what a consumer is; the original draft code (Jan 2007) aimed to protect individuals and remove confusion in a fledgling industry, a move which we applaud. The code has now been extended to businesses in a way that we feel is completely inappropriate. We use an array of emissions factors to calculate and reduce a company’s carbon footprint prior to offsetting unavoidable emissions. Under the draft code we would have to pay an additional £2,000 every time we need to use a new emission factor not included in DEFRA’s current list. This cost could discourage many smaller businesses from participating in the carbon market and taking responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, our experience is that bigger businesses and corporates want a mix of compliance-market CERs and beyond-compliance VERs and prefer to perform their own quality checks to find projects that meet their requirements. CER schemes can be slow, bureaucratic, expensive to administer and limited in variety. Existing quality standards like the highly respected Voluntary Gold Standard and Voluntary Carbon Standard address the need for verified reductions and allow more of the money to go towards projects that help poor communities around the world make the transition to a low carbon future. Thus, while we welcome the Government’s embrace of the quality principles we have long supported, we feel there is still a lot of work to be done before this draft code is fit for purpose.

Carbon Clear is the first full-service carbon management firm with ISO 14001 certification to be listed in the United Kingdom Register of Quality Assessed Companies, which includes entries for over 100,000 organisations. The ISO 14001 is a global environmental management standard. The Register includes companies both within and outside the UK.

Carbon Clear is a carbon management company that works with businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. In addition to advising on emission reductions Carbon Clear also invests in projects to cancel out the pollution that is generated by everyday activities such as driving, home and business energy usage, flying and even nappy use. Corporate customers include Eurostar, Innocent Drinks, and 3M.

All of the projects Carbon Clear invests in are selected based on both carbon reduction and a wider social benefit for the communities implementing them. A great deal of care is taken to ensure money is directed to activities that genuinely improve the environment and the lives of real people and all projects must meet the following criteria:
Our projects must make verifiable pollution reductions over and above their normal level. We follow the guidelines developed by the Clean Development Mechanism and Voluntary Carbon Standard.
Projects must provide additional, long-term benefits to the communities that undertake them; these range from better health and improved incomes to job creation and the protection of endangered plants and animals.
Projects must be efficient; funds should support the projects, and not be diverted to unnecessary bureaucratic overheads, waste or middlemen.
Carbon Clear is supporting a wide variety of emissions reduction projects that produce clear development benefits. These range from improved cookstoves in Sudan, to wind farms in India and energy efficient brick kilns in Nicaragua.

Carbon Capital Markets Welcomes Defra's Offset Code of Conduct

Commenting on today's launch of Defra's Code of Conduct for Carbon Offsetting, Lionel Fretz, CEO of Carbon Capital Markets®, a leading trader and fund manager in carbon and clean energy markets, said:

"We welcome this strict code from Defra for the carbon offset markets. We have always taken the position that offsetting should only use credits from the regulated market as it is only these that have been through such a strict process of auditing and verification to guarantee their worth.

I would urge anyone purchasing offsets to make sure they are buying regulated credits only, using an FSA authorised and regulated supplier to ensure that both the offset supplier and the offsets they provide, are subject to the highest standards of regulation."

Carbon Capital Markets is involved in all aspects of the regulated, Kyoto-compliant carbon markets. It was recently cited by Point Carbon, a leading provider of news and analysis, as an industry leader for its management of the Carbon Assets Fund, which invests in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Projects.

DEFRA Government Offsetting Code to remain open to quality VERs (Verified Emission Reductions).

Eight leading international carbon offset companies, together supplying both CERs and VERs to the beyond-compliance market, have today welcomed the UK Government’s Offsetting Code and its recognition of the important role played by Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs).

When Defra in the UK published its draft version of the Code (Jan 2007) ‘Kyoto-compliant’ carbon credits only were included. However, following a twelve month consultation that saw support for VERs from experts as varied as NGOs and academics through to Parliament’s own Environmental Audit Committee, Hilary Benn stated yesterday that “we recognise that credits from the unregulated market may be innovative and of a very high standard”.

As a group of eight leading carbon offsetting companies, representing most of the leading suppliers by volume in the beyond-compliance carbon (voluntary) market, we welcome the government’s adoption of the key principles already used by the market for selection of VER and CER emission reduction programmes – from additionality and leakage through to permanence and verification. It’s appropriate and welcome that Defra has listened to the market and is taking a lead from it.

The beyond-compliance carbon market, which kick-started carbon trading in the mid-nineties, is global, cross-sectoral and growing extremely fast. The industry has professionalised over the last 5 years, and has seen in the launch of new quality standards for VERs including the Gold Standard (GS VER) and the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), with registries for the VCS and GS in development along with a planned project database linking the two. (see Notes below)

We firmly believe that there is increased interest from people and business in acting beyond compliance, i.e. reducing emissions because they want to not because they have to. This is the carbon market coming of age, and we look forward to working with the UK Government to keep them informed participants in the global development of this innovative and fast-paced emergent market – one that is already generating important investments and innovative solutions towards tackling climate change.

Jonathan Shopley, Executive Director,The CarbonNeutral Company

Jamal Gore, Managing Director, Carbon Clear

Edward Hanrahan, Chief Operating Officer, ClimateCare

Steve Green, Carbon Strategy and Partnerships Manager, Climate Friendly

Mike Rigby, Director,co2balance

Tom Stoddard, Vice President, NativeEnergy

Kerryn Schrank, Programme Director, targetneutral

Adam Stern, Vice President of Policy and Strategy, Terrapass

Ethical Problems

10 tips for ethical living

Let's get this clear right away. I have no problem at all with being, eating, flying (snuck that in, eh?) , sleeping.... or doing, buying , etc pretty much anything that may be deemed more 'ethical'.

Why would I? Why would anyone? It's pretty much in the (well, the MS Word dictionary) definition: 'consistent with agreed principles of correct moral conduct'. Though of course one might argue (no, really, one might) over who is 'agreeing' what is 'correct'.

And there does to me seem to be some blurring of what it does mean, should mean, could mean and has come to be used, interpreted, etc.

(Is it just me, or is every sentence a mass of commas to infinity with all the possible, and often competing, options?).

Anyway, every so often , for those who need such things as a guide, along comes a list from 'someone' to give 'you' a 'how to'.

So here, via the Indy, and thanks to the organisers of the One Life Live event at Olympia (which I might have heard of, but obviously missed. Darn not living in that great city) who have found nearly 73 per cent of us (that's more than 72% I'm guessing. But then I always find such precise figures fun) believe that a more sustainable lifestyle is essential to the future of the planet. Not sure if sustainable (exploiting natural resources without destroying the ecological balance of a particular area) is quite the same as ethical, but that debate has been, is and will be raging on for ever.

And I don't know if they are in order, but the first is a no-brainer:

1. The appliance of science - though, oddly, to date I have so far seen no guidance on the various consequences of dumping a working, but less efficient model now vs. allowing it to die of natural causes. Beyond the money, it must surely matter, enviROI-wise.

2. Fuelling change - no argument. Mind you, looking at the M4 from London end when you have 3hrs drive ahead, at 2am, and when you have 200bhp on tap...

3. Sounds fishy - OK... fish.

6. Be cool! - Yup. Mind you, unless you are paying the bills (like me), with two kids in t-shirts and a wife in a puffer jacket, local conditions can make this tricky.

4. Fashion conscious - don't get me started.

5. Growth industry - of course, there's lots we could do without. And as I recall, the total carbon footprint of flowers from Africa may be less than those grown locally. As I have a brown thumb, we have no flowers, cut or in pots. The garden however is blooming. With weeds.

7. Shower power - logically, yes. I notice no mention of having fewer showers. Wife, daily. Me, every 3 days. The boys? What month is it?

8. Running flush - well, me and the boys operate a 'let it mellow' policy until the missus gets wind of it... literally. As to buying a piece of plastic to do the job of what several pieces of plastic you lob out weekly, well....

9. A sparkling success - see fashion. Grrrrr.

10. Off to a tea - tea. Well, yes. That will do it, I guess.

All.... well, most fairly good stuff. But year on year, this is what is served up? Sheesh. And while some may live in a world of ethically deciding on one's jewellery purchases, it's not a planet I'm sure I'm on (or would get saved that quick anyway).