Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Carbon Credit" Scheme Augers In

It happened in Indonesia but it could have been any third-world, oops, developing nation with land suitable for palm-oil production: a plan by outside investors (70 percent, by charter) to engage in a sort of global extortion by selling "carbon credits" guaranteeing a large chunk of carbon-rich rainforest swampland would remain untouched for a specified period of time has stumbled and come to naught in the final step of a long, tortuous government approval process. Turned out the palm-oil company had filed a competing application some years earlier -- or at least found paperwork showing they had.

"Carbon credits." It's just first-world guilt money, fancy extortion. It's got no reality; you can't saw 'em into blocks, sort 'em or weigh 'em. Sure, stock markets and the like work in much the same way -- but they are, you will note, operating in the developed nations, under a shared belief in intangibles. For a country with a surplus of hungry babies and available natural resources, what looks like the better bet, thirty-year shares in untouchable swampland or the outfit promising to grow crops in it, hire locals and turn out heavy barrels of a physical product?

The clever, clever bleeding hearts (or whatever -- hey, I saw the movie Paper Moon when it came on the TV) busy trying to invent a new derivative of an intangible to salve the guilt of latte-sipping iPhoned Europeans and North Americans might be better off figuring out how to synthesize palm oil from garbage using tropical heat and plenty of manpower if they want to keep those carbon-rich rainforests all shiny-green and mucky. In Indonesia, they're not nearly as worried about the next century as they are about today's lunch. (Whether or not "carbon credits" really do anything to improve our future is a whole other topic.)


Zendo Deb said...

The first thing that the latte-drinking crowd needs to do if they want to live a "sustainable life" is to give up coffee.

It is ecologically destructive - on the order of tobacco. It gets shipped half-way around the world. Has no nutritional value (it is in fact slightly toxic, which is why it raises your metabolism - the body is trying to get rid of it.)

But they aren't gonna do that.

Then they need to stop seeing any movie that has explosions. Or any movie really. (What is the carbon footprint of Hollywood?) They really are unproductive in any tangible sense.

Then they need to limit their time on the computers, phones, web, etc. All that electric power.


Loki1776 said...

You can have my dark chocolate covered espresso beans when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

Anonymous said...

In the Middle Ages, the Catholic church sold Indulgences,basically prepaid forgivness for sins commited or yet to be committed. Remember, green sin is OK as long as you've paid for your carbon indulgences (which also give you the right to be smug about your carbon footprint).

Anonymous said...

I give carbon credits away. Every time someone comments on my blog I resolve not to set fire to the national forest in CA, thus reducing the carbon output.

See how that works?