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[GreenYes] Re: Recycle Offset Credits - Benefits of a market

Title: [GreenYes] Re: Recycle Offset Credits - Benefits of a market

I think you would be a fan of J. Drake Hamilton, who is fond of saying 
that we don't have voluntary or individual food safety policy, so why 
should we have voluntary climate policy?

Won't deny this for a minute! It does turn out to be out of my control 
-- I do what I can politically but also don't let it make me crazy.

So what are my choices?
Complain about the state of affairs.
Work for political change.
Be a better consumer.
Make better choices.
Buy offsets for the rest.

What I don't do:
Blame the current crop of politicians or state of affairs and go about 
life as usual.

There is only so much I (or anyone in the developed world) can do with 
better choices.

If offsets are criticized then folks think it is OK to ignore that 
option and:
Continue with life as usual
Continue to criticize the current state of affairs
Ignore personal change they can make because: offsets are bad, the 
politicians are holding us hostage.

See what I mean? In some ways it is equivalent to the "debate" about 
global warming. If the science seems uncertain then it is OK to not do 
anything. If offsets are questionable then we can ignore that as well.

Note: I am not commenting about anyone on the list! I just continue to 
be astonished that voluntary offsets aren't more prominent and that 
folks continue to pick on them.


On Jul 2, 2008, at 3:27 PM, Neil Tangri wrote:
> To get back to Curt's question, I think this shows the limits of
> individual action. Even if everyone in the US were as dedicated and
> conscientious as he is, we still couldn't make reasonable individual
> choices to bring down our carbon footprint to anything like what is
> needed to stabilize the climate. Consumer choice, while important, is
> simply insufficient. We have a system -- a physical infrastructure, an
> economy and a political system -- that is geared towards
> unsustainability. We therefore need a collective response to change 
> the
> system, not only an individual one. Fortunately, we do have a tool 
> that
> is capable of creating profound, long-term technological and economic
> system changes: the government. Unfortunately, the government is in 
> the
> hands of the wrong people. But I honestly don't think that we can hope
> to address the climate problem without political action.
> best,
> Neil
> Doug Koplow wrote:
>> Interesting thread.  Couple of additional thoughts.  Caps and carbon
>> taxes do two other things that I've not seen mentioned:
>> -First, by creating an economic value on carbon emissions, they 
>> create
>> classes of firms that benefit from those emissions being properly
>> regulated.  This group of firms serves as a decentralized enforcement
>> mechanism that can help improve compliance with a centrally-
>> established
>> cap.
>> -Second, the price signal doesn't merely move emissions reductions to
>> where they are cheapest, but also establishes a strong financial
>> incentive for innovation in the way we do things that emit carbon.  
>> Over
>> the longer-term, it is this incentive to innovate that offers hope 
>> that
>> whatever cap is set now can be reduced over time, and/or the cost to
>> comply with any specific cap will decline.
>> -Neil's point about serious concerns on the tightness of the carbon
>> system is also true and very important.  Where trading involves
>> countries that lack even basic government control systems, the 
>> risks of
>> corruption and gaming are quite high.  Even in developed countries, 
>> the
>> initial rules for allocating carbon permits matter immensely.  An
>> assessment done by Friends of the Earth of existing proposals 
>> estimates
>> that recently proposed climate legislation would have
>> generated windfalls to selected industries in the hundreds of 
>> billions
>> of dollars (permit auctions would solve this).  Finally, credit 
>> systems
>> have a tough time hitting all sectors of the economy equally.  They 
>> can
>> pick up large industries and power plants, but don't do well on 
>> smaller
>> industries or mobile sources such as the transport sector.  Carbon 
>> taxes
>> have a strong advantage here.  Carbon taxes also offer a great 
>> benefit
>> in being able to reduce more distortionary taxes concurrently, such 
>> as
>> those on labor.
>> -Also on Neil's point, controlling methane releases from US 
>> landfills is
>> an allowable source of carbon offset on the Chicago Exchange (and 
>> also
>> constitute eligible green power sources under many RPS rules).  In
>> reality, of course, landfills are a potent GHG emitter, and should be
>> forced to purchase permits for all emissions.  This would send the
>> desired price signal to (a) properly control emissions at landfills
>> without government subsidy; and (b) manage wastes in more
>> carbon-efficient ways (better recycling perhaps?).  Instead, allowing
>> credits for the portion of methane they capture rather than let 
>> escape
>> reduces the cost of landfilling relative to recycling, and, 
>> according to
>> Peter Anderson, misses a large portion of the lifecycle methane
>> emissions from the landfill.
>> -Doug Koplow
>> _______________________________
>> Doug Koplow
>> Earth Track, Inc.
>> 2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
>> Cambridge, MA  02140
>> Tel:  617/661-4700
>> Fax: 617/354-0463
>>           CONFIDENTIAL
>> This message, and all attachments thereto, is for the designated 
>> recipient
>> only and may contain privileged, proprietary, or otherwise private
>> information.  If you have received it in error, please notify the 
>> sender
>> immediately and delete the original.  Any other use of the email by 
>> you
>> is prohibited.
>>>>> <daklute@no.address> 6/30/2008 4:56 PM >>>
>> Neil,
>> Thanks for this:
>> Sorry to reply in two emails -- I hit send prematurely. My point is
>> basically this: carbon credits do nothing to reduce emissions per se,
>> nor are they designed to. They turn GHG reductions into a form of
>> currency, which can then be moved around. The idea behind carbon
>> credits is that whatever emissions reductions are going to be made 
>> can
>> be made more CHEAPLY by bringing a market function into play. But 
>> it's
>> the cap, or other emissions control measures, that actually reduce
>> emissions.
>> as your initial post seemed pretty non-responsive.
>> Yes, credits need caps to be effective. I would agree that
>> cap-and-trade systems are an insufficient response to the climate
>> challenge.
>> But, your attempt to somehow seperate the credits from the cap makes
>> me wondering just what it is your critiquing.
>> On 6/30/08, Curt McNamara <mcnam025@no.address> wrote:
>>> To go back to my argument: How does Curt McNamara, Inc. (or Neil
>>> Tangri, Inc.) balance our emissions without credits?
>>> Yes they are imperfect. Yes folks will take advantage of them. Yes I
>>> can imagine a world where there is something better.
>>> What we teach our students: there is no perfect company, no perfect
>>> product. In many ways working for the worst company is the best idea
>>> because your efforts will have the largest results. "We got here 
>>> with
>>> a million little bad decisions, we will get out with a million 
>>> little
>>> better decisions."
>>> As a consumer I can shop around to find credits with the best
>>> backstory. Every year I can upgrade / change to whoever is doing the
>>> best job. Today the best companies are third party certified.  They
>>> are not perfect, yet they are improving and I don't have a better
>>> answer.
>>> Curt
>>> On Jun 30, 2008, at 2:56 PM, Neil Tangri wrote:
>>>> Hi folks,
>>>> Thanks for your thoughts. It's good to have a measured conversation
>>>> about this.
>>>> On the issue of "increasing":  If the company didn't have access to
>>>> carbon credits, it would have to reduce its actual emissions
>>>> further. In effect, the company is increasing its emissions over 
>>>> its
>>>> cap and then paying for the difference with carbon credits. Carbon
>>>> credit fans like to argue that it makes no difference: sticking 
>>>> to a
>>>> cap with or without credits emits the same GHGs. But that is only
>>>> true if the carbon credit system is airtight (forgive the pun).
>>>> Experience demonstrates that there are lots of projects generating
>>>> credits that shouldn't, or in fact have negative consequences for
>>>> the climate (not to mention other environmental issues).
>>>> all the best,
>>>> Neil
>>>> daklute@no.address wrote:
>>>>> I disagree also.
>>>>> Neil's statement: when you accept carbon credit financing, you are
>>>>> essentially selling your saved emissions to someone else who is
>>>>> going to
>>>>> increase their emissions by the same amount.
>>>>> I work with companies that have developed and live by carbon caps.
>>>>> They use credits to remain at or under their caps, NOT to 
>>>>> "increase"
>>>>> their emissions.
>>>>> We know what the carrying-capacity for carbon is projected at.
>>>>> Decrying off-set credits as a "pyramid scheme" when they are an
>>>>> intregal part of the efforts to reduce the overall carbon output
>>>>> seems
>>>>> short-sighted - at best.
>>>>> On 6/30/08, Curt McNamara <mcnam025@no.address> wrote:
>>>>>> I disagree with your assessment. In my case (and my students)
>>>>>> there is
>>>>>> nothing practical to do to get us to one earth. The only piece
>>>>>> left is
>>>>>> to buy offsets as far as I can tell. Would be glad to hear of 
>>>>>> other
>>>>>> approaches!
>>>>>> Lifestyle summary:
>>>>>> Eat low on pyramid (vegan or close), local food. Shared 
>>>>>> housing. All
>>>>>> practical energy improvements in housing. Pay for green energy
>>>>>> (wind).
>>>>>> Bike everywhere. Car miles ~2K/year. Limited air travel 
>>>>>> (teaching).
>>>>>> Can get to ~1.75 earths.
>>>>>> Curt
>>>>>> On Jun 30, 2008, at 1:06 PM, Neil Tangri wrote:
>>>>>>> Hi all,
>>>>>>> Your points about a pyramid scheme and various other flaws in 
>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>> carbon
>>>>>>> credit process are important. But there is an even deeper flaw 
>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>> whole scheme: when you accept carbon credit financing, you are
>>>>>>> essentially selling your saved emissions to someone else who is
>>>>>>> going to
>>>>>>> increase their emissions by the same amount. So it is a trade
>>>>>>> off: you
>>>>>>> can avoid emissions (for example, by recycling), or you can get
>>>>>>> paid
>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>> those emissions, and have no net gain to the climate.
>>>>>>> cheers,
>>>>>>> Neil
>>>>>>> retroworks wrote:
>>>>>>>> I met Paul Roszel in Chicago at the WR3A sponosored Recycling
>>>>>>>> Today
>>>>>>>> electronics conference (great turnout by the way).  In my 
>>>>>>>> opinion
>>>>>>>> there may be no better advocate and expert on recycling in 
>>>>>>>> North
>>>>>>>> America than Paul.  What he wants to do with the credits is to
>>>>>>>> reposition recycling in the environmental discourse.
>>>>>>>> I spoke frankly with him about the 'greenwashing' potential of
>>>>>>>> all of
>>>>>>>> these credits (as Mary Lou Van Deventer aptly describes some of
>>>>>>>> these
>>>>>>>> 'campaigns').  I have suspicions that the carbon offset credits
>>>>>>>> could
>>>>>>>> be a 'pyramid scheme'... imagine the same gas guzzler being 
>>>>>>>> sold
>>>>>>>> from
>>>>>>>> company to company, traded every week, each company using it,
>>>>>>>> registering their footprint while they have it, and then 
>>>>>>>> selling
>>>>>>>> it
>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>> the next company, and claiming a greenhouse gas reduction.
>>>>>>>> That's an
>>>>>>>> oversimplified exaggeration, but when 99% of companies are 
>>>>>>>> not yet
>>>>>>>> registered, it does seem to me that any company rich enough to
>>>>>>>> upgrade
>>>>>>>> their trucks will look greener than any company buying the used
>>>>>>>> truck...
>>>>>>>> Anyway, in regards to Recycling Offset Credits, I would trust
>>>>>>>> RecycleNet to be very open to setting rules on the system which
>>>>>>>> did
>>>>>>>> not encourage abuse or greenwashing.   Paul was able to
>>>>>>>> intelligently
>>>>>>>> discuss the potential 'poster child fatigue" of environmental
>>>>>>>> campaigns.  He is capable of discussing even the diminishing
>>>>>>>> returns
>>>>>>>> of 'zero waste' (where I have sacreligiously suggested that the
>>>>>>>> very
>>>>>>>> last item recycled, like a can from an island or from the 
>>>>>>>> bottom
>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>> the ocean, will be inefficient and do environmental harm).
>>>>>>>> RecycleNet's goal is to keep RECYCLING as a relevant activity 
>>>>>>>> as
>>>>>>>> 'green' activities (so labelled - did you know there is a green
>>>>>>>> credit
>>>>>>>> card?) gobble up more space on the daily news.
>>>>>>>> I would encourage RecycleNet to continue with this, because the
>>>>>>>> current media appetite for consumable environmental headlines 
>>>>>>>> is a
>>>>>>>> given and if he doesn't put Recycling Credits out there, some
>>>>>>>> other
>>>>>>>> even less worthy environmental 'issue' could take our place.
>>>>>>>> As the
>>>>>>>> Grateful Dead sang, "might as well be me".
>>>>>>>> On Jun 19, 3:08 pm, Mary Lou Van Deventer 
>>>>>>>> <marylou...@no.address>
>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> At Urban Ore, one of our managers is investigating this 
>>>>>>>>> carbon-
>>>>>>>>> offset
>>>>>>>>> idea for our company.  Our attorney just asked me if the
>>>>>>>>> manager is
>>>>>>>>> head of the Greenwashing Department.  We're kind of ambivalent
>>>>>>>>> about it.
>>>>>>>>> Mary Lou Van Deventer
>>>>>>>>> Urban Ore
>>>>>>>>> 900 Murray St.
>>>>>>>>> Berkeley, CA 94710
>>>>>>>>> marylou...@no.address
>>>>>>>>> On Jun 19, 2008, at 12:00 PM, Jewell, Rebecca wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> ...
>>>>>>>>>> SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, Jun 19, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) 
>>>>>>>>>> ----
>>>>>>>>>> Paul
>>>>>>>>>> Roszel, Chairman of RecycleNet Corporation (OTCBB: GARM)is
>>>>>>>>>> pleased
>>>>>>>>>> to introduce the Recycling Offset Credit (ROCs) program. This
>>>>>>>>>> program provides a certified measurement system to 
>>>>>>>>>> recognize and
>>>>>>>>>> reward companies for their recycling efforts. RecycleNet will
>>>>>>>>>> issue/
>>>>>>>>>> award Recycling Offset Credits (ROCs) for each ton of 
>>>>>>>>>> material
>>>>>>>>>> recycled by participants.
>>>>>>>>>> As a result of the increased awareness of climate change and
>>>>>>>>>> global
>>>>>>>>>> warming, more and more people have become concerned about
>>>>>>>>>> greenhouse
>>>>>>>>>> gas emissions and are developing strategies to reduce their
>>>>>>>>>> carbon
>>>>>>>>>> footprint. Many companies, individuals and institutions have
>>>>>>>>>> implemented carbon neutral goals.
>>>>>>>>>> The Recycling Offset Credits (ROCs) program is an effort to
>>>>>>>>>> provide
>>>>>>>>>> a universally recognized standard to measure and certify
>>>>>>>>>> recycling
>>>>>>>>>> efforts and to demonstrate the economic impact of the 
>>>>>>>>>> recycling
>>>>>>>>>> industry. Recycling Offset Credits (ROCs) may be used to
>>>>>>>>>> calculate
>>>>>>>>>> an equivalent offset of your carbon footprint.
>>>>>>>>>> RecycleNet Corporation invites any company, institution or
>>>>>>>>>> organization to participate in the voluntary ROCs program by
>>>>>>>>>> reporting materials recycled. There is no fee to 
>>>>>>>>>> participate and
>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> program is open and applicable to anyone in all stages of the
>>>>>>>>>> recycling/reverse distribution supply chain.
>>>>>>>>>> For more information and to participate in the Recycling 
>>>>>>>>>> Offset
>>>>>>>>>> Credits program please
>>>>>>>>>> About RecycleNet
>>>>>>>>>> RecycleNet operates The Online Secondary Commodities 
>>>>>>>>>> Exchange.
>>>>>>>>>> Founded in 1995, RecycleNet created a powerful platform to
>>>>>>>>>> facilitate the international trade of secondary commodities.
>>>>>>>>>> RecycleNet Corporation enables trade on a local, national and
>>>>>>>>>> international basis with customized sites locating markets
>>>>>>>>>> around
>>>>>>>>>> the world in many different commodities. On any given day, 
>>>>>>>>>> there
>>>>>>>>>> are
>>>>>>>>>> in excess of $200 million in new items listed within our
>>>>>>>>>> exchanges.
>>>>>>>>>> Rebecca Jewell
>>>>>>>>>> Recycling Programs Manager
>>>>>>>>>> Davis Street Station for Material Recycling & Transfer
>>>>>>>>>> A Waste Management company
>>>>>>>>>> 510-563-4214
>>>>>>>>>> Fun Fact: Waste Management recycled more than 5 million 
>>>>>>>>>> tons of
>>>>>>>>>> commodities last year; preventing the release of more than 
>>>>>>>>>> 3.4
>>>>>>>>>> million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
> >

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