Canada to Launch Carbon Market

I was asked a couple of years ago to review the options available regarding a carbon market in Canada and immediately put it on the back burner, been well aware of the glacial speed by which government operates. Now we are going to attempt a market and that is at least a good start. The problem is not the idea so much as the gaming going on in the early going that makes the market very dicey.

The European history demonstrates this totally.

The first problem is that each country adopts a beggar thy neighbor approach in which they try to solve it by balancing their own books. And of course there is no real local solution to eliminating the carbon in the first place, anymore than there is an internal solution for North American crop production surplusess.

The only viable solution that can be applied universally is the use of biochar as a soil builder everywhere. The benefits are themselves huge and worthwhile in their own right. The measurement can be done comfortably every five years or so to a high level of precision. Even if the operator tries gaming the system, in the long run it will naturally average out.

Most important, it is done just as easy by those prepared to use hand labor instead of a lot of heavy equipment.

I would go so far as to make it the only accepted carbon sequestration system at all. The reason for this is that alternatives provide no secondary benefit whatsoever unless it is to encourage more oil to the surface. Try and argue for that one.

If the carbon market woke up and discovered that the only offset to a carbon problem is a patch of enhancible farmland, then we would have an agricultural land rush that would make the populating of the prairies a small time event. There is money for this and two billion folks with shovels waiting for a little bit of financial support from us.

Two billion new farmers will turn into two billion new land holders and have families who are part of the modern world, just by turning the tropical soils into fertile crop lands known as terra mulato.

Yes folks, it really can be just that easy. Except for all the self serving farm lobbies in the developed world that fear a level playing field of any kind and will pay huge money to queer what common sense demands.

As an aside, both Canada and particularly the US could adopt a biochar protocol in the corn growing lands in particular as a method of restoring soils and rebuilding those soils lost in the past century. We would then be spending the next century rebuilding those soils back to their original health.

Therefore if industry found that a large chunk of their problem got solved this way, it is pretty easy to see what they will do to get rid of the rest profitably in tropical latifundia..

Canada to establish carbon trading market

by Staff Writers
Ottawa (AFP) June 10, 2009

Canada announced Wednesday plans for a carbon market that could eventually link up with nascent EU and proposed US markets to form a global system for carbon
pollution trading.

The local market would provide Canadian companies and individuals an opportunity to reduce their carbon emissions, which are linked to global warming.

"It does so by establishing a price for carbon in Canada -- something that has never been done before in this country,"
Environment Minister Jim Prentice said in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada.

"Anyone wanting to offset their emissions will be able to purchase credits -- from small businesses, to individuals, to travelers," he said.

"Every offset credit will represent a real and verified emission reduction, equal to the equivalent of one tonne of carbon dioxide."

Rules and requirements for generating offset credits, including registration of projects and issuance of actual credits and an explanation of how CO2 cuts would be verified, are to be published after a 60-day public consultation.

"Projects that could qualify for offsets span the economy," said Prentice, "from farmers using reduced or no-till techniques to store more
carbon dioxide in their fields, to wind turbines producing clean electricity using only the wind, to landfill sites that are able to turn captured methane into usable fuel."

The new system would also target emissions from activities and sectors not covered by planned limits on big industrial polluters, he said.

Under Europe's nascent Emissions Trading System, the EU allocates carbon polluting allowances to member states to meet its obligations under the UN's Kyoto Protocol.

The states then assign quotas to those industries that belch most CO2 into the atmosphere.

Companies that emit less than their allowance can sell the difference on the market to companies that exceed their limits, thus providing a financial carrot to everyone to become greener.

The ETS is touted by supporters as a model for US President Barack Obama's own cap-and-trade scheme and others seeking to cut greenhouse gases and boost green technologies.

However, since its inception it has twice crashed.

In 2007, carbon quotas, set during an initial two-year test period, turned out to be far too generous. After a months-long slump, prices picked up when governments set tougher targets for the 2008-2012 period.

The price of a tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) or its equivalent again nosedived this month as big European polluters, responding to plummeting demand for their products in a global recession, emitted less.

In December, the United Nations is to hold its 15th climate change conference in Copenhagen.

The summit aims to forge a new global agreement on climate change, to take over from the Kyoto Protocol after it expires in 2012.

"Failure to make progress in Copenhagen is simply not an option," Prentice also commented.

"The consequences are too great, the stakes too high, not to bring to that meeting our best efforts and unwavering resolve," he said.

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