Cut To The Chase

So this big plan for international Carbon Trading, how long will it take to set up all the national and regional markets ? And how long will it take to get some kind of serious reduction in Carbon Emissions using the market ?

Well, judging by this week’s slalom race on the melting Climate piste, I’d say it will be a good few years yet before a functioning international Carbon market will be viable, and a good few years after that that it will start to deliver any real reductions in emissions.

That could easily take us past 2015, the year that Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre knows we have to peak our emissions or face Climageddon (unless we can produce negative emissions. Yeah. Right.) :-

http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/programme.php
Presentation Slides : http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/ppt/10-1anderson.pdf
Presentation Audio : http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/audio/10-1anderson.mp3

So, if a Carbon market cannot hope to guarantee Peak Emissions by 2015, what’s it all for ? And what is the international Carbon Trading market supposed to achieve, anyway ?

The ultimate aim for the Carbon market is to reduce the flow of Carbon from suppliers to consumers. That is, to apply a tourniquet to the Carbon pipeline between those who extract it and those who burn it.

Why don’t we simply cut to the chase and tell the Fossil Fuel miners and the logging barons and the chemical farmers that, actually, their businesses will be wound up, and that contraction starts in 2015, like it or lump it ?

There’s no need to try to implement a complex and unwieldy, inflexible Carbon market, when all we need to do is tell the Fortune 500 that they diversify or die.

It’s time that Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron and the rest realised that their current business models are history and they started finding a liferaft out of here. And I don’t mean inventing some quasi-green-sounding project without a hope of success :-

http://www.newsweek.com/id/215758

“Big Oil Goes Green for Real : By Rana Foroohar : NEWSWEEK : Published Sep 19, 2009 : From the magazine issue dated Sep 28, 2009 : Remember back in 2001 when BP went “Beyond Petroleum”? It was a brilliant marketing campaign, but it had less to do with changing the company’s business model than positioning Lord John Browne as the Teflon oil executive. All but a tiny fraction of BP’s revenue came, and still comes, from oil. So how should we take the spate of new green announcements from the world’s major oil firms? In July, ExxonMobil announced big plans to grow green algae to fuel cars; last week, Chevron unveiled the world’s largest carbon-sequestration project in Australia; and in recent months, Valero, Marathon, and Sunoco carried out a series of acquisitions that resulted in Big Oil controlling 7 percent of the U.S. ethanol business. The list goes on. And this time it’s the real deal. It’s not just that these projects involve bigger money, which will grow exponentially if new technologies work. That’s still peanuts for oil majors, which put only 4 percent of their total 2008 profits into alternative-energy investment. It’s that companies are actually beginning to think about alternatives not just as a tool for greenwashing (throw up a few solar panels here, sponsor a conference on wind energy there) but as real businesses that might one day turn real profits—or at least help make fossil-fuel production more profitable. The catalyst is that governments are moving to force industry to cut carbon emissions, creating a new “long-term regulatory reality” that favors alternative energy, says PFC Energy chairman J. Robinson West. Meanwhile, President Obama’s green-stimulus efforts and China’s massive investment in alternatives have created a serious market for green technologies…”

Biofuel from algae ? Might take forever to pump it, even with millions of vats. Carbon Capture and Storage ? Carbon Sequestration ? Very, very pricey and no clear signs of success. Ethanol ? Increased Carbon emissions for many biofuels mean these will eventually be canned.

No. The real diversification is a plan to phase out Fossil Fuels and phase in true Renewables : tried, tested and cheap.

We could wait for a couple more years for the world’s political leaders to agree a Carbon Trading market and regulate for it. By then, it could all be too late.

The plan to pull the Copenhagen levers in favour of Carbon Trading is yet one more delay in the path to genuine emissions reductions. It is a Trojan horse, implanted by corporate lobbyists, the same group of guys who influenced the European Union to adopt the Emissions Trading Scheme. How successful has that been, I ask ? Not good is the answer.

Some beg to differ. But surely we can all agree that the EU ETS has been slow in producing any change, can’t we ?

Waiting for negotiations to conclude a Carbon Trading market is just a delaying strategy. We cannot afford any more delay.

It’s time to call time on Fossil Fuels. Call in the Oil, Gas and Coal majors and tell them to forget Tar Sands and Carbon Capture and go straight to the long-term solution for Energy : Renewable.

Zero Carbon or bust !

One thought on “Cut To The Chase”

  1. Jo,

    Can I ask you a serious question? What evidence would a global warming denier have to produce to convince you that AGW was not happening?

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