Carbon Credits

The one aspect of the so called global effort to tackle global warming that I find most disturbing is the stumbling initiative to establish a carbon credit market. The concept is very laudable. We can all grasp that a transfer of money from those dumping CO2 into the atmosphere to those taking it out would go a long way to both measure the size of the problem and to also ameliorate it.

What I have yet to see in the press is a credible explanation of the mechanics. And my own efforts were rewarded with a maybe next year response and that was two years ago. What am I missing? I suspect something is clearly wrong and the most likely reason is that the approach to date is simply wrong headed.

It seems too easy for participants to rig a green wash rather than a working solution when there is no particularly clear market mechanism and reporting system.

If we return to the efforts spurred by the Kyoto accord, we immediately discover one primary flaw. It is the lack of equality among the participants. The accord was patched together by a group of folks all trying to protect their short term interests every way they could. It was not an accord so much as an effort to preserve the status quo and assign blame when it fell apart.

The only system that will ever actually work is one that treats everyone equally, with at most a negotiated transition for those facing immediate hurt. The only way that this can be implemented is by assessing a direct transfer credit against every barrel of oil produced and every ton of coal mined globally. It is simple and the producers are then stuck with the very real task of actually spending those credits efficiently.

The present attempt is already a hodge podge of gerrymandering and special interest manipulation which will actually raise the cost of business and create huge imbalances deleterious to the global economy.

The UN can find itself in a management role of enforcing compliance. This will be as simple as cutting off the right to export and transferring the credit obligation to the receiving refinery. The audit process can actually catch it all and the cost of non compliance will actually lose access to a profitable side line for the producers.

In the meantime, it is outrageous that industrial carbon obligations have been outsourced to China and India who have no need to meet these obligations. If the system is not universal, we will be treated to the charade of the worst and dirtiest industries been bounced around the globe every twenty years until they have a final home in Tongo Tongo.

A universal credit system stems the incipient fraud and deceit we are already been exposed to. We already have the word 'greenwash' joining the lexicon.

An universally clear global carbon credit or defacto global carbon currency is a fantastic way to establish a proper global financial system because it is directly tied to the life blood of the global economy and will be forever in some form or the other.

It then makes it easy to monetize the establishment of terra preta soils worldwide since that is the one certain method of sequestering carbon in the long term. The carbon sequestered in the Amazon two thousand years ago is still there and still supporting excellent farming.

Slight changes in tillage, although helpful, actually does little more than perhaps prevent further loss of carbon which is actually not good enough.

Without question, it is necessary to call another global conference and use that conference to impose the carbon credit obligation on the producers and empower the UN to police the system. It will still take time to sort out, but it will sort itself out. Let us do it right this time.

When NAFTA was imposed, the transition was implemented in small steps over ten years. We should do the exact same thing here.

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