Friday, November 30, 2007

"Everthing is Beautiful" until it morphs into a "Bird Killer" Part 2

The Guardian carries this feed from Reuters, emphasis mine:

LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - One in five carbon credits issued by the United Nations are going to support clean energy projects that may in fact have helped to increase greenhouse gas emissions, environmental group WWF said on Thursday. The United Nations runs a scheme under the Kyoto Protocol that allows rich nations to invest in clean energy projects in developing countries and in return receive certified emissions reduction credits (CERs) to offset their own emissions. But WWF said in a report that the credits are being delivered to projects that would have gone ahead anyway, even without the extra incentive provided by U.N. approval under the scheme, called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). ...

It said the problem damages the global carbon market, which is expected to more than double in value to around $70 billion this year.

This is a variant of the problem discussed earlier here.

Wikipedia explains how the "Clean Development Mechanism" is supposed to work:

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing industrialised countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment (called Annex 1 countries) to invest in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries. The most important factor of a carbon project is that it establishes that it would not have occurred without the additional incentive provided by emission reductions credits.

As the CDM is an alternative to domestic emission reductions, the perfectly working CDM would produce no more and no less greenhouse gas emission reductions than without use of the CDM. However, it was recognized from the beginning that if projects that would have happened anyway are registered as CDM projects, then the net effect is an increase of global emissions as those "spurious" credits will be used to allow higher domestic emissions without reducing emissions in the developing country hosting the CDM project. Similarly, spurious credits may be awarded through overstated baselines, causing the same problem. Such a rejection is termed a "false positive".

On the other hand, if a project is rejected because the criteria is set too high, there will be missed opportunities for emission reduction. Such a rejection is termed a "false negative". For example, if it costs $75 to remove just one tonne from a domestic power station in a developed country, while the same money would reduce 37.5 tonnes of emissions through a genuinely additional CDM project in China, it is important that the validation process does not become so bureaucratic or onerous as to dissuade the more effective option. Some observers report that the CDM process is producing far more of these false negatives than false positives.

NGOs have criticized the inclusion of large hydropower projects, which they consider unsustainable, as CDM projects. Other concerns are the lack of renewable energy CDM projects and the inclusion of sinks as CDM projects.

Negotiators have not yet been able to agree on whether, or how, carbon capture and storage projects should be allowed under the CDM. They are also discussing how to reduce as much Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions as possible under the CDM without creating a perverse incentive to build more HCFC-22 production facilities just to get the revenues from selling CDM credits. If this were to happen, developing countries' obligations to stabilise (2016) and phase out (2040) HCFC-22 would be in jeopardy.

In one adroit move international bureaucrats and NGOs, persons who are accountable to one, not even to an electorate, have achieved vast power over economic activity in every country. Now people the world over are hearing about "fine tuning", "thresholds" and credits -- the whole vocabulary of regulation and bureaucracy -- and realize that it applies to them. All without having enacted any of those measures. The Kyoto Protcol operates in many ways like a Trojan virus, "a piece of software which appears to perform a certain action, but in fact, performs another", loaded up through a backdoor.


Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The best way to understand the inevitability of this is to realize that Global Warming is the new secularist religion.

"Carbon Credits" are the new church's version of "plenary indulgences"

From Wikipedia:
An indulgence, in Roman Catholic theology, is the (full or partial) remission of temporal punishment due to sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution.[1] Indulgences draw on the storehouse of merit acquired by Jesus' sacrifice and the virtues and penances of the saints.[2] They are granted for specific good works and prayers.[2]

Indulgences replaced the severe penances of the early church.[2]

Indulgences, and the abuses[2] that crept into granting them, were a major point of contention when Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation (1517).

So if Al Gore is the corrupt Pope of the new religion (Al started a lucrative side-business selling carbon credits himself), who then will be our new Martin Luther?

We often hear that the North Polar ice cap is supposedly melting, but when has the New York Times pointed out that the SOUTH Polar ice caps just grew to record levels?

Currently, one third of all federal laws are devoted to the protection of the environment. In 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency set new records by assessing $264.4 million in fines from 704 civil and criminal cases referred to the Justice Department. In addition, U.S. federal law identifies as criminal fully 10,000 activities, based on 3,000 federal criminal laws.

"Carbon dioxide is 0.000383 of our atmosphere by volume (0.038 percent)," said meteorologist Joseph D'Alea, the first director of meteorology at The Weather Channel and former chief of the American Meteorological Society's Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecast.

"Only 2.75 percent of atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic in origin. The amount we emit is said to be up from 1 percent a decade ago. Despite the increase in emissions, the rate of change of atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa remains the same as the long term average (plus 0.45 percent per year)," he said. "We are responsible for just 0.001 percent of this atmosphere. If the atmosphere was a 100-story building, our anthropogenic CO2 contribution today would be equivalent to the linoleum on the first floor."

How many trillions would we have to spend to replace that linoleum?

11/30/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

I've been looking for the article I read last year sometime about the time Angela Merkel was elevated to the leadership of Germany.

Seems die Deutsche Grüne Partei has sufficient clout that no new nuclear power plants have been built in Germany for most of the last decade. Yet the demand for electrical power among even those devout enviros is constantly rising. As a result, Germany must purchase from its neighbor France its surplus electrical power, which derives from France's ROBUST nuclear power generating capacity.

Eighty percent of French electrical power is generated by the controlled fission of atomic nuclei.

It is intriguing and even a little encouraging to see that the French government - supported by the French Public - is full willing to tweak the noses of the wacko environmentalists when it comes down to survival.

(My numbers might be off; I would appreciate any well-documented correction...)

11/30/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Carbon credits didn't come early enough to save Enron or its investors. Mr. Clinton (in the person of Mr. Gore) promised Mr. Lay that betting on carbon trading was a sure thing. It's no wonder that Mr. Lay was so certain that Enron was a sure thing that this serving minister not only invested all of his money but encouraged all of his employees to do the same.

Or so the rumor goes.

Then again in era of "fake but accurate" this has the ring of truth. In 30-40 years the truth will come out.

11/30/2007 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Interestingly we have no way of knowing whether the "carbon" caused by the 1/5 bogus UN certificates resulted in a net negative effect on the objective function (climate change). The Wikipedia article suggests Clean Development Mechanism projects can be quite large, so they may have an effect on "carbon" output larger than the savings of the remaining 4/5. But at any rate, I doubt whether we can reliably model the actual effect these carbon credits are having on the complex climate system, one way or the other.

Does it sound absurd to ask, how many angels can dance on the tip of a pin? You can formulate an equivalent absurdity in Gaian.

11/30/2007 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Ann Coulter takes on the Global Warming True Believers:

Further proving that liberalism is a religion, its practitioners respond with the zeal of Torquemada to any dissent from the faith in global warming.

A few years ago, Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg wrote a book titled "The Skeptical Environmentalist," disputing the hysteria surrounding global warming and other environmentalist scares. Lomborg is a Greenpeace anti-war protester -- or, as he is described on liberal websites, he is a "young, gay vegetarian Dane with tight T-shirts." His book was cited favorably in The New York Times.

But for questioning the "science" behind global warming, Lomborg was brought up on charges of "scientific misconduct" by Denmark's Inquisition Court, called the "Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation." I take it Denmark's Ministry of Truth was booked solid that day.

The moment anyone diverges from official church doctrine on global warming, he is threatened with destruction. Heretics would be burnt at the stake if liberals could figure out how to do it in a "carbon neutral" way.

Climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball is featured in the new documentary debunking global warming, titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle." For this heresy, Ball has received hate mail with such messages as, "If you continue to speak out, you won't live to see further global warming."

I'm against political writers whining about their hate mail because it makes them sound like Paul Krugman. But that's political writers arguing about ideology.

Global warming is supposed to be "science." It's hard to imagine Niels Bohr responding to Albert Einstein's letter questioning quantum mechanics with a statement like: "If you continue to speak out, you won't live to see further quantum mechanics."

Come to think of it, one can't imagine the pope writing a letter to Jerry Falwell saying, "If you continue to speak out, you won't live to see further infallibility."

If this is how global warming devotees defend their scientific theory, it may be a few tweaks short of a scientific theory. Scientific facts are not subject to liberal bullying -- which, by the way, is precisely why liberals hate science.

Unsurprisingly, Jimmy Carter called Gore "my favorite Democrat," adding that Gore could do "infinitely more" to prevent global warming by being "the incumbent in the White House" than by "making movies that get Oscars."

11/30/2007 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger herb said...

I continue to work very hard to increase my carbon footprint since it is directly related to economic prosperity and applaud others who do the same.

12/01/2007 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/01/2007 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

There are two possible futures for the human race. In one, humans devote themselves to conservation, using less energy, reducing their footprint, and reducing their population until Mother Gaea is blessedly free of the human plague.

In the competing vision, energy use goes up. People are wealthier and live longer. Technology provides the means to support the population and mankind goes on to colonize first the solar system and then the galaxy.

As a fan of Star Trek, I find Al Gore's vision of where humanity should go chilling in the extreme.

12/01/2007 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

In a related story, WorlNetDaily weighs in on the BATTLE OF THE BULBS
Fluorescent vs. incandescent? Environmentalists can't decide
New concerns over mercury hazards split green activists on switch to CFLs
© 2007

WASHINGTON – Al Gore says switching from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents can help save the planet from global warming.

California, Canada and the European Union are so persuaded he's right, the three governments are in the process of banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs, following the trailblazing paths of Fidel Castro in Cuba and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is on board, urging American citizens to do their part for the environment and switch to the twisty little CFL bulbs that last longer and use less electricity.

But opposition is building among other environmentalists who say the threat of mercury contamination as a result of hundreds of millions of broken CFLS, each containing about 5 milligrams of the highly toxic substance, outweighs any benefits from a switch from Thomas Edison's trusty old invention.

One new voice weighing in against the tide is Andrew Michrowski of the Canadian-based Planetary Association for Clean Energy: "I feel it's very important to warn people these 'green' bulbs contain mercury, which will end up in landfills throughout the country if we make the switch to them. In addition to filling our landfills with mercury, if the bulbs break you will be exposed to the mercury they contain."

He says consumers shouldn't buy them – even though they are now showing up in stores all over America.

My own experience tells me that when "Environmentalists" do cost-benefit analyses, the costs to the consumer are real and typically underestimated, and the benefits are unobservable, hypothetical, and rarely materialize.

12/02/2007 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

Peter Grynch, the CFL bulbs are just about ten times the cost of incandescent bulbs, last 7-10x times as many hours, and use 20% of the electricity. They pay for themselves in 6 months. The rest of their lifetime is gravy. If they have mercury in them it sounds like a wonderful opportunity for further recycling and mercury recovery.

12/03/2007 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger BetaCygni said...

I'm learning a lot about climate change science by monitoring this blog:

I'm convinced that there are significant problems with the historical reproduction of temperature based on proxies like tree ring widths, deposition rates at the bottom of the ocean, and oxygen isotope concentrations.

Particularly problematic is using tree ring widths as a thermometer. Without that proxy, the "hockey stick" temperature graph you've seen (by Al Gore and others) goes away.

I predict that within 20 years the global warming panic will be seen as another in a long string of delusions like the South Sea Bubble and Tulip Mania.

The carbon credits are just a racket to transfer wealth from developed countries to the undeveloped world.

Having said all that, we still need to "turn oil into salt" and get ourselves free of oil by switching to flex-fuel plug-in hybrid vehicles. Only then will we defeat the jihadis.

12/04/2007 03:32:00 PM  

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