The business opportunity of the century

“Building the energy system of the second half of the 21st century is the business opportunity of the century. Recently, the countries that have most successfully capitalized on this have been the rapidly developing economies, particularly in Asia.” Source Christopher Field, co-chair, IPCC Working Group II.

Danger, danger! We are told we are open for business and Asia will follow? Are they having the last laugh, so what does economic participation agreements mean? We guess, nothing unless we are in sync with our neigbours because they are not denying climate change they are fearful of it and taking appropriate action. Also most interesting is, they address a ‘resilience framework’ – something that meaningfully reduces the probability of system failure. You might also note that squarely ties ecosystem, and economic systems as being inseparable. So why do we hear so much other nonsense as climate responses cost jobs – utter rubbish! Now consider:

“Singapore is taking steps to better adapt to the vagaries of uncertain climate patterns in Southeast Asia by embarking on a national study to understand the impacts of climate change on the country’s roads, drainage systems, power stations, and other infrastructure.

Officials from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and the Ministry of National Development shared on Monday that all ministries and statutory boards will participate in this study, which will examine how rising sea levels, higher temperatures and more intense rainfall and flooding could affect the city state’s physical infrastructure.

The initial findings are expected to be released by 2016, and will feed into Singapore’s ‘Resilience Framework’, a blueprint developed by the Singapore Government in 2012 to safeguard against climate change over the next 50 to 100 years.

The study was announced on Monday at the sidelines of an event organised by Singapore’s National Climate Change Secretariat and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to share findings from the IPCC’s recently released Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and its implications for Southeast Asia. About 260 guests from the public sector, as well as businesses, NGOs and academia attended the event held at the Furama Riverfront Hotel.

The findings of AR5 conclusively state that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that it is “extremely likely” that human influence has been the main cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century.

The report stated that in most projected scenarios, global surface temperature is also likely to exceed the 2°C limit. Most scientists at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 agreed that exceeding this limit of global surface temperature rise would result in dangerous climate change.

Scientists from the report’s working groups on adaptation, mitigation, and physical science also added that key risks for Asia included urban and coastal flooding, and water and food security.

No-regret policies for emission reduction

Singapore’s Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan highlighted Singapore’s vulnerability to these extreme weather events and the importance of adapting to them as early as possible.

“We cannot take a positive outcome for granted. Even though we will do our part as a responsible member of the global community, we also have to adapt to climate change and make sure we are resilient in order to look after our own citizens in a warmer and more uncertain world”, he said.

However, there were uncertainties inherent in climate science, in the economics of climate change and in the political framework surrounding a global climate agreement that hampered global adaptation and mitigation efforts, added Balakrishnan.

For example, he said that it was “misaligned economics” that blocked the adoption of low-carbon technologies in a global economy that is overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels.

“This is what keeps us trapped in a high carbon trajectory”, he said.

To address this, Balakrishnan proposed three “no-regret policies” to achieve substantial emissions reductions; namely investing into research and development of low carbon and clean energy systems, mandating energy efficiency standards, and removing subsidies for fossil fuels.

Scientists from the IPCC speaking at the Monday event seconded the minister’s view that scaling up the low-carbon energy sector was necessary to limit global temperature rise. They added that the pursuit of clean energy also represented significant business opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors.

Christopher Field, co-chair of the IPCC working group on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, said: “Building the energy system of the second half of the 21st century is the business opportunity of the century. Recently, the countries that have most successfully capitalised on this have been the rapidly developing economies, particularly in Asia”.

Jim Skea, vice-chair of the IPCC working group on climate change mitigation, shared that “there will be major changes in investment patterns in the energy sector if we are going to pursue climate change mitigation, and this provides enormous market opportunities”.

The panel of scientists identified three strands of scientific innovations in the energy sector as particularly promising. In the field of chemistry, developing better fuel cells, photovoltaic technologies and more efficient materials were raised as key areas that could drive clean energy forward.

Innovations in information technology such as smart grids and emerging biological research in increasing crop yields of biofuel crops were also identified as areas with high opportunity for investment.

While the potential for profit by developing new energy technologies prevailed in conversations about climate change mitigation, Katharine Mach, co-director of science of the IPCC Technical Support Unit, noted that there were business opportunities in adapting to climate change too.

“Adapting to climate change is largely about risk management, and risk is also one of the metrics that businesses are the most comfortable with. This focus on risk management is widely used in government and also in insurance and business”, she said.

“There are huge opportunities for businesses that adapt to changes in water resources and the weather extremes that will be playing out across the region”, she noted.

The scientists also expressed unanimous optimism that the world would collectively be able to meet the global challenge of climate change.

To illustrate that climate issues tended to pass through a cycle of initial denial and concerns about the high cost, followed by the gradual acceptance of evidence and political action, Skea cited the United Kingdom’s 1956 Clean Air Act, which was passed as a response to years of debilitating air pollution in London that took more than 12,000 lives. While the government was initially keen to downplay the severity of the smog due to economic pressures, it eventually introduced measures such as shifting to cleaner energy sources than coal and relocating power stations away from cities.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge of all because it is global. But I feel optimistic that the same pattern will be followed and that we will eventually deal with it”, he said.

Singaporean professor Wong Poh Poh, the coordinating lead author on AR5’s chapter on coastal systems and low-lying areas noted, however, that while new developments in science and technology were encouraging, the slow rate of political change did temper the his optimism somewhat.

The IPCC representatives shared that the process of putting together the next assessment report (AR6) would focus on addressing gaps in knowledge about Asia’s changing weather patterns and putting a number on the value of preventing catastrophic climate change.

This would be done by involving more environmental economists in the scientific process and ensuring that developing countries in Asia were more equally represented on the panel, said the scientists.” http://www.eco-business.com/news/singapore-steps-efforts-weather-future-climate-change/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=July+9+newsletter&utm_content=July+9+newsletter+Version+A+CID_a456bb2e4e5b7a34701ac945eeb190e2&utm_source=Campaign%20Monitor&utm_term=READ%20FULL%20STORY

So please will the real Greg Hunt stand up and say what he needs to say – I believe!

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Friends by degrees – the ACT story

Reported is the NSW government is at war with itself, as is some Federal politicians, as is some local government people. The canny troublemaker is the ACT Government. For accepting that showing example is better than doing nothing to support climate science.   For doing what the NSW Government made allowance to do in addressing the future.

It is all a bit odd if you take into account that in war you might say 2 degrees of separation is sufficient to warrant attention. In finance it would take up to 5 degrees to lose sight of the target. A canny businessperson might think there are opportunities at 3 degrees of separation. In terms of climate we have evidence that 4 degree of temperature difference is on track under climate change scenarios and may in all likelihood accelerate into tipping points of no return in a very short time frame. So if we talk of degrees of separation and degrees temperature as similar measures it all becomes most worrisome.

Looking at what is being said (to keep you informed currently NSW and Federal Government is coalition parties):

The Federal Member for Hume – said ‘green policy gone mad. Wholesale prices will triple’. Then states the NSW Government will contribute to that increase by applying to take baseload power out of the system when the wind does not blow. Interesting when you consider the NSW Government is the approving power for its own considerable wind farm precinct building exercise.

The Chief Minister of the ACT and the ACT Minister of Environment and a thousand other things (in a colloquial sense) have said small increases will occur in energy prices, but business confidence will pick up, as the programs will excite business development. Co2Land org has to admit any attempt to encourage a larger private sector in ACT has to be constructive.

The State Member for Monaro’s best was reserved for his own, the NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy were he challenged that NSW had become the ACT’s junkyard! Claiming little or no support from NSW landholders during consultation processes. Co2Land org finds this interesting as the evidence is only or mostly the Landholders that object are the ones that missed out on a financial benefit. We are happy to be proven wrong on that statement.

The State Member for Burrinjuck (also Minister of Department of Primary Industry, and in a stoush over redistribution of her boundary with the State Member for Goulburn) is to have said to ‘be opposed to inappropriately sited windfarms’. This sounds like a parochial comment of who can and who cannot by the tone.

The State Member for Goulburn is quoted as saying ‘opposes wind farms, but is leaving the door open for other renewables’. Does this mean negotiations are possible?

The Yass Valley Mayor claims communities are really angry about these projects.  The Goulburn Mayor was merely concerned at the methods used and took the opportunity to encourage more settlement in the region. The Palerang Mayor said adequate precautions have been taken to ensure appropriate site and location positioning for developments. CO2Land org too agrees that where impacts on local residents are correctly accessed it is more likely that when incentives are offered the local will accept the arrangements. So is that the real issue, who pork barrels who for what?

But the absolute ‘corker’ (Aussie slang for taking the mickey out of things) is recently the question was asked: “Can you explain to me what a Solar wind farm is”!

What are they all talking about? The ACT Government aiming at 90% renewables by 2020 and the initiatives to make it happen at minimal costs.

Where was it being talked about? Reported by John Mitchell in the Bungendore Mirror 2 April 2014. Had it been 1 April it could have been considered a joke!

Our democracy – the need to educate, to influence better environmental outcomes

Increasingly you might hear the comment – we don’t have a democracy anymore and all that we get is push marketing and the pedaling of misinformation. We are told what to think, act and what we feel in order to react ‘appropriately’. Scenario the phone rings – hello, its Adrian mate and if you don’t want to let the community down you will adopt our stance, you don’t want to let the sky fall do you?  You react and say hang on I am a good upstanding community member….you are hooked and steered into a psychological twist.

Whatever scenario you want to paint on the issue a properly functioning democracy requires an educated, well-informed and proactive community. Backing this thread up is a quote from the Executive Director at Liana Downey & Associates – Strategic Advisors to Governments and Nonprofits – contributing to the discussion about the morality of government and some leaders on action on climate change – “I think it just strengthens the impetus to keep educating, and keep moving forward, particularly for those of us with a good understanding of the science. I have had plenty conversations with reasonable, educated professionals who admitted they just weren’t sure if “all this climate change stuff” was really an issue. We have to take the time to acknowledge doubts, and respond to concerns in an informed way that doesn’t patronize people but allows for conversation and progress. Who says there isn’t scope to address the concerns of the cynics? 

This would be an easy time to fall into despair – it’s certainly tempting. But it’s also the most important time to step up, be clear about the facts, and help lead. Government are obviously important players, but not the only decision makers or leaders in our society. There is still plenty of scope to help shape thoughtful sustainable investments, shift consumer and corporate behavior, and keep doing what we know to be right to protect future generations”.

Then we have the comment by Michael O’Flynn – Sustainability and Financial Risk Consultant: “The real culprits are the politicians with their lack of accountability, aspects of the media who cherry-pick “evidence” to push their backer’s agenda, large immoral corporations and their executives who simply care about profits, rates of return and $$$bonuses and some of the mega-rich. We are basically facing a fight between the gung-ho capitalist model who call for less regulation and as happens, have the big bucks and consider all resources as simply a means to derive a profit first and foremost, versus the people. 

It wasn’t so long ago that the god-Father of the current Libs, John Howard and supposedly the Libs too, were keen on an ETS. Exhibit A for long-term culpability for any inaction.”

CO2Land org finds this potent stuff, maybe a little emotive, but puts the point across vey well – we are influenced as opposed led. So is the real problem that we have ourselves to blame, that we are followers and not leaders – short answer is not everyone can be the leader. But, we need to stay focused and committed and advocate for what we believe is right. The Adrian example at the beginning of this post was and example of an advocate that recognized that public opinion and political policies are never static and will ebb and flow. Even from within governments positions on issues are not necessarily entrenched within the Party’s or even its voters. It is a case of reacting from the popularity base both within and outside the party and will influence those that make the hard decisions. A documented illustration of this is in Australia where a newly elected Government is already facing rough times over the party’s previous support of climate change policies such as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). With the current Prime Minister saying his party does not support the view that climate change is real, and then others within, such as the popular Malcolm Turnbull, openly being supportive of an ETS. This suggests we will be in for more push polling efforts and misinformation peddling is in the wings. Sadly it will also auger well for those that will react with ‘we will review this matter’ and behind the scenes say – no further action required it will go away! He recipe for ‘seeing to be doing and not doing at all’!

CO2Land org will argue that until the opposition parties start acting professionally we can expect nothing more than talk on what is needed on meaningful climate change policies. But either way, neither the government nor the opposition parties can exempt themselves from being detrimental to the obvious environmental dangers we are facing now, and merely taking the arguments to the next election will just be too late.

Thank you to those that contributed to this thread – it shows the potential that there is still some really positive discussion going on. It also put into focus, what recently happened when the Australian Climate Council was established as a privately funded model after the government of the day chose to abandon public funding for its predecessor. We speculate that the thinking behind the funding denial was that it would put aside the issues the entity has uncovered. It might actually come back to bite the climate change deniers and we might even see better outcomes for the betterment of how society views the working of our democracy.

CFI – untangling the confusion.

While discussing how you go about untangling the confusion around land carbon science and climate change mitigation policy. The CFI group noticed that the Nature Publishing Group has published that wide held beliefs are “scientifically flawed”. It then became necessary to wonder about agenda and again you had to ask was it to further confuse and did it serve any real purpose in publishing the article other than it being a academic assessment – it appears another clue is the time difference from the receipt of the article to publishing was around 7 months.

To quote the abstract of this subscription service found under:

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n6/full/nclimate1804.html

Depletion of ecosystem carbon stocks is a significant source of atmospheric CO2 and reducing land-based emissions and maintaining land carbon stocks contributes to climate change mitigation. We summarize current understanding about human perturbation of the global carbon cycle, examine three scientific issues and consider implications for the interpretation of international climate change policy decisions, concluding that considering carbon storage on land as a means to ‘offset’ CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels (an idea with wide currency) is scientifically flawed. The capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to store carbon is finite and the current sequestration potential primarily reflects depletion due to past land use. Avoiding emissions from land carbon stocks and refilling depleted stocks reduces atmospheric CO2 concentration, but the maximum amount of this reduction is equivalent to only a small fraction of potential fossil fuel emissions.

CO2Land org prefers an apolitical stance on what matters. However, it could not be helped that the views above may undermine our Australian values for the Carbon Farming Initiative. It may also be pertinent to put to the public that there is an immediate need to offset carbon from fossil fuels, that no measure in its self should be judged into eternity.  What this need does show is the measures should only be judged on its effects on the term a methodology may be useful. That is, does it matter, in terms of carbon offset, that it makes a difference for 10, 25 or up to 100 years. or eternity. That if you want to make a difference, and monetary gains are more a matter for survival levels as opposed to money venture gains it matters only that there is bi partisan political support for the concepts and actions.

The reference to “scientifically flawed” in the quoted article maybe a headline grabber but as the difference possible through land carbon policy is quantifiable. It is a genuine action and debate will only result in no action – and that is the tragic consequence.  We know science supports that view of the potential tragic consequence.

Good News for CFI

Good news for those following the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative.  The bipartisan support in the Federal Parliament will continue for approved carbon storage – and that is also a key component of the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan. As such those committed under the CFI legislation as farmers, land owners and land managers are able to generate carbon credits by storing carbon on the land or reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a greater degree of confidence.

In a show of faith the Federal Government has awarded the tender to develop the learning materials for the new CFI skill sets. In a press release, 8 May 2013, Carbon Training International (CTI) – www.co2ti.com – has announced that they are the successful tenderer for supplying CFI skill set training materials.

Co2Land org is aware that persons CTI are interested in to participate in the industry reference groups and the pilot courses have been contacted to run the programs later in the 2013 year.  It follows that those that would be able to give good input would still be welcome to do so to the sessions.

Below is a copy of the press release distributed by CTI:

————————————————————————–

Press release – Carbon Training International wins tender for Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative Skill Set Training Materials Program.

The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) introduces a specific new set of job roles into the Australian workforce to assist the establishment of carbon abatement and sequestration projects linked to the land. This requires a new set of skills and knowledge that give the workforce confidence to complete their roles and land holders the confidence that the people whom they are contracting have reached an acceptable performance benchmark. CTI has been selected by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research & Tertiary Education (DIICCSRTE) following a competitive tender process to develop the training and learning materials to support the training of this important emerging workforce. “We were selected above other training development tenders in a very competitive field” said Bill McGhie CTI’s CFI Program Director.

The CFI is a legislated scheme which has bipartisan support in the Federal Parliament and is also a key component of the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan. Under the legislation farmers, land owners and land managers are able to generate carbon credits by storing carbon on the land or reducing greenhouse gas emissions from land based activities such as landfills & piggeries. These credits can then be sold to individuals or organisations who have committed to offset their emissions or to meet their liability under the carbon pricing mechanism.

The CFI skill set training focuses on building the knowledge and skills that carbon service providers need to assist farmers and land holders assess, evaluate, plan and implement complex CFI projects. The training is designed to enable individuals acting as CFI project advisors, originators or developers acquire or affirm the skills to supply reliable, credible and consistent technical information on CFI projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon in the landscape leading to carbon credits being issued.

Once produced the CFI Skill sets training products & course materials will be made available to universities, TAFE colleges and private training providers (RTOs) to deliver the CFI training and accredit people with the skills to support CFI projects.

“It is integral to the integrity and the credibility of the carbon service sector that those individuals with the knowledge, skills and experience for planning and implementing CFI projects support farmers and land managers on how to participate in the CFI effectively” said Carbon Training International’s MD, Robert Nicholls. “The establishment of accredited CFI training is an important development for the farming and land management community as it provides them with a means to easily select carbon service providers whose CFI knowledge and skills has been independently assessed and confirmed to be to a particular standard. It provides some peace of mind that the individuals undertaking project feasibility and CFI methodology selection for the deployment of carbon offset projects on behalf of landholders have the required skills.”

“The Clean Energy Regulator, which oversees the administration of the CFI is considering a register of accredited providers to provide more certainty of contractor capacity to make sure genuine service providers are differentiated from the cowboys.” said Carbon Training International’s CFI Program Director, Bill McGhie.

Accredited training will provide a firm footing for carbon offset projects to have a better chance of success and thereby generate important economic benefits to regional communities and indigenous Australians.

“The CFI offers an important opportunity to landholders, however the CFI projects need to be set up properly and that is why this training is essential” said Mr. McGhie.

Carbon Training International is the leading developer of accredited carbon management training and has already trained over 600 candidates in its Certificate IV in Carbon Management course. Its programs are taught in Australia, online and overseas through its international partner network, including the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

  Regards

Bill McGhie
Director
Organisation Capacity Building & Training
Carbon Training International
GPO Box 3414
Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia
m: 0408 207 820
www.co2ti.com

build a carbon-responsive workforce

 

 

Think eco profit management

Think eco profit management and it means reducing energy options to affordable solutions that improve the organizational bottom line, enhance brand image and accommodate operational expansion. It is showing clients how to implement energy and carbon management systems with confidence. A piece of cake – easy to understand.

Winton Evers the MD of www.EcoProfitManagement.com.au practices sustainability management . Formerly a Chartered Accountant, Winton came across the GHG Accounting Standard and realised how much organisations could improve their financial and environmental performance by managing their carbon emission sources. So why the frustration Winton, asks CO2Land org? The answers could be obvious, it is the obtuse that form opinions in our ‘smartphone’ world at the expense of ‘real’ experiences.

Then we read of another sustainability professional, Mary C. Alford, PE, in another part of the world saying the facts are “The largest companies have embraced sustainability – why? Because it has been shown to save hard dollars – and it has the side advantage of positive spin to customers and even employees (and many other advantages that we know, but let’s pick our battles). But when the corporation is ultimately answering to stockholders, the interest is only in one pillar of the triple bottom line: profit”

Mary continues to ask us to think of the following “What is the carbon footprint of inefficiency? What is the carbon footprint of a failed project? What is the carbon footprint of meaningless travel or pointless meetings? I believe that the selling of sustainability starts with the selling of ‘lean’ business practices. They go hand in hand. Sustainability needs to be rebranded away from granola and polar bears and recycling for corporate boardrooms and rebranded for profitability. (And just for the record – I like granola and polar bears and I recycle everyday – but when I bought a Prius, I only pointed out, to my corporate clients that asked, how much money I saved).

Co2Land org has also noted the increasing use of the connotation of sustainable and the inferences of deniers of change that one that practices sustainable is part of the ‘green’ or ‘granola’ sect. It is possible but, increasingly as Winton and Mary are saying it is about the need to balance the economy, for profit of longer than the short term and CO2Land org advocates if we evaluate and cost benefit is part of the equation it would seem mother nature is fighting back and cost of doing nothing has no benefit. We are clearly saying Climate Change is real, and it does not matter if it is man made or other cause, we have the technology, but do we have the will to innovate?

On a lighter note Urban Dictionary enlightened us with the following definition and antidotes:

Definition 1 granola

Thumbs 475 up, 233 down

 

 

 
  A person who dresses like a hippy, eats natural foods (granola), and is usually a Liberal, but in all other ways is a typical middle class white person, and is likely to revert back to being straight when they finish college.

Did you see that granola chick at the farmer’s market buying bean sprouts?

Yeah, her new Volvo was parked next to me.

Definition 2 granola

Thumbs 278 up, 126 down

 

 

 
  A tree hugging, free spirited hippie minus all the drugs.

Melissa is a granola.

Definition 3 granola

Thumbs 753 up, 189 down

 

 

 
  An adjective used to describe people who are environmentally aware (flower child, tree-hugger), open-minded, left-winged, socially aware and active, queer or queer-positive, anti-oppressive/discriminatory (racial, sexual, gender, class, age, etc.) with an organic and natural emphasis on living, who will usually refrain from consuming or using anything containing animals and animal by-products (for health and/or environmental reasons), as well as limit consumption of what he or she does consume, as granola people are usually concerned about wasting resources. Usually buy only fair-trade goods and refrain from buying from large corporations, as most exploit the environment as well as their workers, which goes against granola core values. The choice of not removing body hair (see amazon) and drug use are not characteristics that define granola people, and people, regardless of granola status, may or may not partake in said activities. This definition is sometimes confused with hippy.

Jack: My best friend is vegan and only buys produce that is organically grown from local farmers. Her and her feminist, vegan boyfriend are both in Greenpeace and advocate for queer rights. She waxes her legs but she’s still granola.

Jill: So that means she’s not a dyke? And she grows her own reefer?

Jack: Just because she’s granola, doesn’t mean she does drugs. Also, granola status has nothing to do with sexual preference.

Jill: Well maybe she’ll know where to buy hemp and how to tie-dye?

Jack: She’s granola, not a hippy. Some granola people are hippy and vice-versa, but they’re not the same thing.

 

Maybe the real medicine is: if we have a bit of a laugh and settle down we can work an understanding – a sustainable one!

EPBC Powers – COAG passing the ball?

A seemingly disjointed argument: Commonwealth devolving EPBC powers to States and Territories and the Founder-CEO of GIST Advisory, a specialist consulting firm which helps governments and corporations discover, measure, value and manage their impacts on natural and human capital held a seminar at the Australian National University (ANU), 5 December 2012. In essence, both argue over the move from federalism models of influence to enterprise models.

As an analogy, and as we in all likelihood, need the technology to research effectively, our IT systems giants can be brought into the highlights: Apple is a Federalism model and Microsoft an Enterprise model.  Co2Land org puts forward the difference is the application of standards and accreditation. One is a moderator and influencer, and he other is a executive lobbyist and controller. Another way of putting it – Apple makes devices that influence the development of things that make it work and manage the introductions of the applications that can be framed fro the devices. Microsoft makes thing work for the information flows that fit the enterprise and its vested interests, and strictly controls the infrastructure platforms they will work to within the select enterprise. If you translate that to Federal and State and Territory government workings, you might see the possibility of a run away train through select enterprise if the influence is replaced by vested interest other than the good of society, or our long term future.

If we go back to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 (EPBC) concerns:

  • We notice that Andrew Campbell, Director, Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, headlines ‘Commonwealth handballs environmental protection to States and Territories’, and talks of the COAG proposal to devolve EPBC powers to States and Territories, “even for matters of national significance, may be OK in principle but seems sure to end in tears. States & Territories are dis-investing in environmental capacity and are often proponents or at least key stakeholders in big development projects. Existing S/T legal frameworks are patchy. Hard to imagine that the Commonwealth will invest sufficiently in monitoring or compliance to ensure that other jurisdictions adhere rigorously to the COAG agreement”. He then said “when inevitable controversy occurs, the Commonwealth Minister will be blamed anyway”.
  •  Preceding Campbell, 0n 5 December 2012, http://theconversation.edu.au ,the Conversation printed, ‘Commonwealth should keep final say on environment protection’. This creditable account even offered what interests the authors may have to declare including:  Lee Godden has received funding from the Australian Research Council for a project on environmental governance and climate change. Jacqueline Peel receives funding from the Australian Research Council under grants relating to climate change regulation and litigation. Lisa Caripis has volunteered with a number of climate change advocacy groups including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC).
  •  The ‘Conversation’ story is compelling and to quote “Almost 30 years ago, the  Australian High Court gave the Commonwealth Government constitutional authority to make laws protecting the national environment. Now, a Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) agreement will severely limit the practical scope of that Commonwealth power. CoAG has initiated a fast-tracked process to effectively devolve Commonwealth development approval powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to the states. This could see a return to a highly decentralised system of environmental management in Australia, which means nationally significant areas and problems could receive inadequate attention”.

At the ANU scheduled seminar for GIST – Pavan Sukhdev, he defines an economy as one that improves human well-being and social equity while also reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. While focused on an economy: It is an urgent need to build a green economy as was the primary theme of the ‘Rio+20’ conference in June this year. Mr Sukhdev suggests that micro-level rather than macro-level changes are required to bring about a green economy, and that corporations have an important role to play in this regard.

Co2Land org asks what can be achieved by short term solutions being put to long term problems? An economy – is it an accounting function or a heritage action?  Why write about this? We must address this and other issues, and posts like this might help tackle, and influence us to avoid looming catastrophic damage to the environment, and at the very least mitigate trends in climate change. The word here is ‘responsible’ as in held accountable for bad actions, and praise for good ones. Ball passing, as described by Campbell, then becomes irresponsible!

Pure Gold Standard

On 28 June 2012, it was reported by the Australian Government, it “introduced the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) on 1 July 2010 to provide national consistency and consumer confidence in the voluntary carbon market. The Government called for submissions into the standard, and received 34 submissions for the draft review of the standard.”

It is worth noting that NCOS serves two primary functions:

  • Provides guidance on what is a genuine voluntary offset, and
  • Sets minimum requirements for calculating, auditing and offsetting the carbon footprint of an organisation, product or event to achieve ‘carbon neutrality’.

Then on 25 July 2012, Choice www.choice.com.au said several of its members were put off because of a perceived lack of accountability and oversight in the industry, and needed more assurance before they considered offsetting their carbon emissions.

CO2Land org is now interested in what makes this such an issue especially when NCOS is set up to provide a means of ensuring the environmental integrity of the carbon offsets and carbon neutral products available in the Australian voluntary market. It is meant for consumers and businesses alike to make informed choices and be able to interpret carbon neutral claims. Business should find comfort in being able to determine their carbon footprint in line with consumer expectations etc.

Maybe a little Carbon standards 101 at this point:

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is an international standard that ensures carbon reductions meet quality standards and are independently verified, numbered and listed in a central database.

The Gold Standard (GS), established by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), certifies offset projects that demonstrate greenhouse gas reductions and positively impact the economy, health, welfare and/or environment of the community where the project is located.

The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) is a voluntary Australian Government carbon offsets scheme that enables farmers and land managers to generate carbon credits by reducing agricultural emissions, such as nitrous oxide and methane, and sequestering carbon in vegetation and soils. These credits can then be sold to individuals and businesses wishing to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions.

The Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) verifies claims of carbon neutrality in Australia. To verify carbon neutral claims, the NCOS specifies that organisations must buy their offsets from projects verified under eligible schemes. These include credits issued under the CFI, VCS and GS, among others.

Now for a little more on the comfort factor:

CO2Land org on 16 August  2012 was told it still all feels good and Gold Standard (GS) is a rigorous standard with considerable credibility, there is a problem – nothing to do with creditability, but how and who is going to run the GS market in Australia. The issue today is NCOS clearly give GS the big tick and that is why we have watch this space and note that concerns over efficacy are being addressed through such a rigorous process for the regulation of the programs will ensure the money goes where it should. However, 2 years and counting is getting a little uncomfortable when you want to participate in the standards with confidence.

Carbon Management – despite the storm of words

The differences between the parties of politics in Australia are centered around the carbon price mechanism. However, the parties share their support for putting in place approaches to carbon management.

In the story “Tax furore hides much furious agreement”, Andrew Ure wrote “he makes an issue of how Australians would be forgiven for being a little lost in the carbon tax introduction and the storm of words”. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/tax-furore-hides-much-furious-agreement-20120702-21d4c.html#ixzz1zb5R3I5L

CO2Land org looks closely at where there is general agreement by our political parties that climate change is real, and notes:

  • Unconditional commitment to reduce Australia’s emissions by the same amount (5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020).
  • Agree on a minimum undertaking of the scale of emissions reductions that Australia should endevour upon.
  • Agree that there is a degree of climate change action that Australia should take forward.
  • Furious agreement that Australia should encourage the development of the renewable energy sector through promoting a renewable energy target, and they even agree on the amount: 20 per cent of Australia’s energy supply should come from renewable sources by 2020.
  • Energy Efficiency programs will remain in focus regardless of who is in power
  • Land management is in agreement for support, however the estimates of the potential of reducing emissions from farming and forestry vary, but all agree the reductions potential is very significant.
  • Although they have the same objective and hence the same program type but called differently: The government’s contracts for closure program and the coalition’s emissions reductions fund is seeking to support the closure of inefficient power stations.

Being that the coalition are on record as saying estimates that soil carbon measures could represent 85 million tonnes of annual CO2 abatement potential we can take this as agreement the government’s carbon farming initiative is the safest part of the government’s Clean Energy Future package. Albeit we will hear more of the slant to be tested based on the direct action plan.

CO2Land org is of the view we should not let the arguments get dull or fade away, even the minor differences present significant opportunity to do better and more is best for climate change action. Viva la differences and the nuance to maneuver to our special place – sustainable living.