EnergetixClimate news & blog

March 17, 2010

The Big Picture

Filed under: Uncategorized — kdorion2 @ 7:20 pm

Welcome to our first Blog.  Here we will discuss issues related to climate change and businesses.  This blog is meant to be a resource for organizations that want to know more about what climate change means to them.  We will focus on what organizations want to hear, so if you or your organization have a particular issue you would like discussed, by all means, send us a note.

We began with a bang!  Last Friday I was quoted in the NY Times.  The article, written by Nate Gronewold, talks about how climate offsets are becoming unpopular and how the lack of progress in national and international climate negotiations is hurting the prospect of the CDM.  And I am then quoted as someone who believes in offsets and the CDM.  I want to explain why I believe cap and trade is a system that works and why we should be working hard towards using offsets, in addition to many other tools, to stabilize GHG emissions.

Take a step back. A big step back and look at the big picture.  We see climate change affecting us, our resources and our peace and security.  Many still don’t believe the science of climate change- and understandingly so, the science is complex at best and this last winter was very cold. It doesn’t make sense.  But one of my goals is to translate the message so it makes sense.  The science (but we will address the specifics at a later date), shows us we will get climate change or climate weirding (as Tom Friedman likes to say) with increased variability.  More on this at a later point.

Why do I believe in a cap and trade system? Because I have seen the projects that I have developed and many good things have happened from them.  Take the example of the ONIL Stove project. These projects reduce the amount of wood burned in rural Guatemalan and Mexican households, replacing open fires.  These stoves reduce indoor pollution, allow women who use them to have a healthier home, and frees money (spent on purchasing fire wood) or time (finding fire wood).  And carbon finance, within the CDM, will allow HELPS International, the non profit managing the ONIL Stove program, help more household have access to more stoves.  The benefit: healthier homes and less firewood burned.

Now, tell me the CDM and carbon finance are a bad thing, and I will disagree with you.  I will agree that it is a work in progress, that the system could be less bureaucratic.  But the principal of it – that projects that are good for environment should be rewarded – is sound.

So here is why I am remain positive.  One,  you can deny climate change all you want, if you feel like it, but it will not go away. Call me next hurricane season or next drought or next flood and we can resume the conversation.  Second, carbon finance helps good projects – we need to address the integrity of the system and make sure more good projects move forward, but overall, good projects do get funding. And third, carbon offsets is only part of the puzzle – a small part actually.  Proposed legislation allows only a percentage of caps to come from offsets; the rest of the reduction must come from changes in technology, efficiency and behavior.

So think of offsets as only part of the puzzle, this very big and confusing and now politically charged puzzle.  And if you want to invest in clean technology, go for it,  it will pay you big and we will be in a better world for it.  If you want to change behavior, by all means, turn off your lights, buy a more efficient car, put less CO2 into the air.  For me, I will continue trying very hard to develop good projects that help a large number of people live healthier lives.  And that gives me reason to be hopeful.

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