Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Will California's Deeply Flawed Cap-and-Trade Program Become Even Worse ?

Here is a well researched work by Lisa Song and associates at Pro Publica entitled, An Even More Inconvenient Truth: Why Carbon Credits for Forest Preservation May be Worse than Nothing. The full work is worth your read and for California readers it is essential that you spread the word: the Air Board is on the verge of worsening an already deeply flawed pollution trading scheme (aka cap-and-trade).
Many thanks to Lisa Strong and the folks at ProPublica....

"RIO BRANCO, BRAZIL — The state of Acre, on the western edge of Brazil, is so remote, there’s a national joke that it doesn’t exist. But for geochemist Foster Brown, it’s the center of the universe, a place that could help save the world.
“This is an example of hope,” he said, as we stood behind his office at the Federal University of Acre, a tropical campus carved into the Amazon rainforest. Brown placed his hand on a spindly trunk, ordering me to follow his lead. “There is a flow of water going up that stem, and there is a flow of sap coming down, and when it comes down it has carbon compounds,” he said. “Do you feel that?”
I couldn’t feel a thing. But that invisible process holds the key to a massive flow of cash into Brazil and an equally pivotal opportunity for countries trying to head off climate change without throwing their economies into turmoil. If the carbon in these trees could be quantified, then Acre could sell credits to polluters emitting clouds of CO₂. Whatever they release theoretically would be offset, or canceled out, by the rainforest.
Five thousand miles away in California, politicians, scientists, oil tycoons and tree huggers are bursting with excitement over the idea. The state is the second-largest carbon polluter in America, and its oil and gas industry emits about 50 million metric tons of CO₂ a year. What if Chevron or Shell or Phillips 66 could offset some of their damage by paying Brazil not to cut down trees?
The appetite is global. For the airline industry and industrialized nations in the Paris climate accord, offsets could be a cheap alternative to actually reducing fossil fuel use.
But the desperate hunger for these carbon credit plans appears to have blinded many of their advocates to the mounting pile of evidence that they haven’t — and won’t — deliver the climate benefit they promise."

To more fully appreciate the potential hole California is about to step into, read the closing paragraphs describing the Air Board's forthcoming action. And if you are further motivated to oppose these actions, energize your colleagues, friends, and organizations to contact your state legislator as well as Assembly Member Cristina Garcia, Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies to oppose a proposed standard for allowing forest credits that the European Union hasn’t allowed in its cap-and-trade program “due to concerns about their environmental integrity.”.

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