Jan 12 2007

Carbon credits discredited

An article in today’s Georgia Straight coughs up some pretty toxic drivel about carbon credits as a solution to Canada’s environmental problems.

The Georgia Straight article actually admits that carbon trading has a lot of drawbacks criticized by leading environmentalists – not least of which is the lack of accountability for carbon-traded projects that are supposed to make up for polluters’ ongoing operations. Unfortunately, it leaves such critical information until the final couple of paragraphs, after about 1,000 words of gut-check anti-Conservative, pro-Kyoto propaganda.

Canada is a major polluter, worse in some respects than the American gas-guzzling empire that many self-righteous Canadians are the first to criticize. There seems to be no real debate left regarding humanity’s carbon-producing societies being behind a potentially catastrophic (well, for us, maybe not cockroaches) climate change. Something needs to be done.

But carbon trading isn’t it. Buying carbon credits on the international market doesn’t actually reduce global warming – it just makes countries billions of dollars poorer.

Instead of sending our currency abroad into a black (green?) hole, why not invest those billions in Canada on renewable energy research, or the production of tried and tested renewable energy sources: wind, solar, and yes, nuclear power?

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Carbon credits discredited”

  1. on 14 Jan 2007 at 1:17 am

    Why not some of both? It’s a tragedy-of-the-commons problem. Last spring I wrote a cover piece for the Straight on climate change, paying most of my attention to Tim Flannery & his ideas. I referred favourably to the Brit Aubrey Meyer’s “contraction and convergence” proposition – get a proper global agreement on annual carbon-dioxide emissions with a schedule for sacling them back; allocate a global carbon “currency” on a per-capita basis, then allow governments to buy, sell, and trade.

    Or some version of that.

    Good post, anyway.

    And somehow I lost you on my blog links. You’re back up now, under Canuckistan Popular Front.

    Cheers,

    TG

  2. on 14 Jan 2007 at 1:19 am

    Why not some of both? It’s a tragedy-of-the-commons problem. Last spring I wrote a cover piece for the Straight on climate change, paying most of my attention to Tim Flannery & his ideas. I referred favourably to the Brit Aubrey Meyer’s “contraction and convergence” proposition – get a proper global agreement on annual carbon-dioxide emissions with a schedule for sacling them back; allocate a global carbon “currency” on a per-capita basis, then allow governments to buy, sell, and trade.

    Or some version of that.

    Good post, anyway.

    And somehow I lost you on my blog links. You’re back up now, under Canuckistan Popular Front.

    Cheers,

    TG

  3. on 14 Jan 2007 at 2:33 am

    If we could get a carbon credits scheme where polluters could actually trade for carbon-sucking projects that were verifiable and actually worked, I’d be willing to support it. But asking corporations or countries to invest in the current system doesn’t make sense to me. It’s sort of like asking people to invest in a new kind of stock market before there are any enforceable rules established for which companies’ stocks can be traded or what to do if virtually none of the companies listed can submit basic accounting figures.

  4. on 14 Jan 2007 at 2:34 am

    Thanks for the feedback and the link, by the way. I’ll have to check out that Straight cover story (I think I remember it, actually).

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