Clean Energy (Unit Issue Charge—Auctions) Amendment Bill 2012 – passed

The seven bills passed the Senate, and the Clean Energy (Unit Issue Charge—Auctions) Amendment Bill 2012, without amendments, by 34 votes to 28 on Monday night, 26 Nov 2012. The Australian ETS will link to the EU ETS and all that is required for law is Royal Assent.

What is a bill? A bill is a proposal for a law or a change to an existing law. A bill becomes law (an Act) when agreed to in identical form by both houses of Parliament and assented to by the Governor-General.

Reference source: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4896

Progress of the amendment bill include:

  • House of Representative introduced and read first time 19 September 2012 to six other presentations and the third reading agreed on 11 October 2012;
  • SENATE introduced and read first time 11 October 2012 to eight other presentations where the text of bill as passed both Houses was announced on 26 November 2012.

Some advocates for the carbon price are disappointed that this passage means the end of the $15 floor price of the original premise for the local scheme, and that argument can be respected.

Albeit the bill has passed relatively quickly and by the numbers, there is little or no support to be found with the executive of the opposition leadership. On ‘the far side’, excuse the reference to cartoon characterization, it is still preferred to retort to name calling and demonization of anyone with fortitude to promote change. The question that will remain until tested is: Will we regret tying ourselves to the EU scheme, as that scheme has shown weakness in its auction system and has required intervention to stay afloat?  CO2Land org will speculate the answer is we would be far more exposed if we did not take the step. We are not alone.

Apart from the deniers the evidence is we have to go with the system. This is further emphasized when most of the industries and the economies evolve around the need for the certainty. The ETS systems bring with them a market to focus on and give them a need for the market to plan for their future in the carbon constrained world.

It is still very perplexing as to why climate change deniers can say “a bigger con than ours as it has achieved zero except make some feel good”, “they don’t call her Juliar for nothing”.  ‘They’ can easily traced to the opposition and the rallying against the carbon tax and vowing to repeal it if in government.

The opposition tack is shallow and continues to describe the carbon tax as a shambles, despite no evidence of any magnitude of negative affects being demonstrated because of the price. The greater threat to energy prices is all gaming activities on energy prices, a lackluster energy regulatory regime and the need for revenue gains for cash strapped States. Posted on September 14, 2012 by co2land The cold hard facts on state finances can be taken from this table:

  NSW VIC QLD WA SA TAS
2011/12 -$940 -$811 na -$178 -$120 -$80
2012/13 -$1000 -$635 na -$284 -$400 -$120

Table: Estimated impact of GST reduction on State budgets, 2011/12 and 2012/13 ($m). Source: State budget papers

The greater danger is the A bot leadership is to do not a thing to genuinely address the need for certainty, other than promise to repeal the legislation and leave us isolated from the global benefits. The tragic comedy continues where one Nationals senator Ron Boswell said as quoted by the ABC on renewable energy targets and the carbon price driving up electricity prices. “Australia is in an expensive energy hole right now because … of the carbon tax, and it is time we stop digging”. No need to comment on that one, it answers itself as to what is the problem!

CO2Land org notes carbon pricing was one of the most significant changes to the Australian economy, it will be enduring but not endearing and it will be important for business to know the way to calculate the environmental cost of their activities. Otherwise they may be penalized by those places where emitters pay. We are not alone and not going to be alone. The EU ETS is followed by California’s first auction sellout – they have even found some businesses have experienced outstanding business performance in the carbon markets and plan awards ceremonies for same, and China’s planned expansion to position itself as number 2 ETS market ahead of California should give confidence to our businesses and innovators that understand the importance of carbon and to be a sustainable entity. Posted on November 14, 2012 by co2land “The official start for California’s Carbon Pollution Allowances purchase of permits at auction starts 14 November 2012.” In a previous story California’s ‘carbon market mandate’ posted on 9 October 2012 by co2land it was said “Looking at what the Californian’s have done: They have taken the approach that big business can be encouraged from polluting the environment”. The http://news.yahoo.com/california-sells-first-pollution-permits-222337650.html reports on 19 November 2012 that the sellout of 23.1M permits attracted $10.09 each.

If you need more, or need to know what all this really means to the two way linking of the EU ETC, the AU ETS and Carbon pricing following is the Federal Government’s link on the agreement

Download the PDF

Australia and European Commission agree on pathway towards fully linking emissions trading systems (88 kB)

 

 

SMART the two way difference!

We hear smart phone, meters, grids, systems all around us and we can be driven to distraction hearing this and not knowing what is really means. Our frustration includes that dictionaries do little to help us understand what SMART really means in the context of today. The context being SMART is more about what is deliverable through clever two-way communication.  But does that mean workable one-way communication is dumb?

Research suggests the first known uses of the term occur in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran (source Wikipedia). Now if we look at the objectives given by our source we find: “SMART / SMARTER is a mnemonic to guide people when they set objectives, often called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), for example for project management, employee performance management and personal development. The letters broadly conform to the words Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely with the addition of the words Evaluate and Reevaluate used in more recent literature.”

However, when we talk in terms of technology we note: “S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology; often written as SMART) is a monitoring system for computer hard disk drives to detect and report on various indicators of reliability, in the hope of anticipating failures. When a failure is anticipated by S.M.A.R.T., the user may choose to replace the drive to avoid unexpected outage and data loss. The manufacturer may be able to use the S.M.A.R.T. data to discover where faults lie and prevent them from recurring in future drive designs.”

Then for our energy supply we note: In addition to growing concerns about the electricity grid’s robustness and reliability, the grid was designed and built with one basic objective in mind – keeping the lights on. Meanwhile, other concerns have become increasingly important in the political and public dialogue about the status and future of the electrical grid, particularly: Energy efficiency
- Environmental impacts
- Consumer choice.

Worldwide governments and utilities are investing in new technologies in order to keep up with demand for energy and build a grid that: Runs more efficiently
- Generates higher-quality power
- Resists attack
- Is self-healing
- Enables consumers to manage their energy use better and reduce costs
- Integrates decentralised generation (e.g., bioenergy, renewable energy. Gas fired), and storage (such as fuel cell) technologies.

In addition to meeting the need for reliable, high-quality power, these technologies are intended to meet the economy’s energy needs as efficiently as possible, optimizing energy consumption and related environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions.

CO2Land org notes these technologies are often referred to generically as smart grid technologies. In this usage of Smart, the SMART grid describes a set of related technologies, rather than specific technology with a generally agreed-on specification.

Continuing on with SMART technologies these fall into five main areas:

  1. Two-way integrated communications: allow for real-time control, information and data exchange to optimize system reliability, asset utilization, and security.
  2. Sensing and measurement: evaluate congestion and grid stability, congestion and grid stability, monitor equipment health, detect energy theft, and support control strategies support.
  3. Advanced components: flexible alternating current transmission system devices, high-voltage direct current, first- and second-generation superconducting wire, high-temperature superconducting cable, distributed energy generation and storage devices, composite conductors, and “intelligent” appliances.
  4. Advanced control that enables rapid diagnosis of and precise solutions to specific grid disruptions or outages.
  5. Improved interfaces and decision support that reduce complexity so that operators and managers have tools to effectively and efficiently operate a grid with increasing numbers of variables.

Therefore it could be said Smart Grid is a two way communication system fundamentally concerned with the long-term sustainability of the system.

Then if we go back to SMART project management:

There is no point communicating if you do not want an effect. The effect you want to achieve must start with effective communication giving or developing a clear picture of what you want to achieve. At this point you could be evolving dumb communication as suggested at the start of this discussion – a one-way exchange keeping people informed and being supportive. The one-way communication could be reports, a newsletter or other required proforma. It may be elegant, stylish and easy to read or it might be rubbish – A scruffy report leaves the impression of a lack of control or lack of concern for what is good for the result.

To be smart in this context the communication must achieve change. That is the desired change and several key elements need to be incorporated. To start with, the most important element is:

The information needs to be Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time framed – SMART.

The second element is illustrate the reason why it is important TO YOU. If your audience does not believe you are feeling the need how can you expect them to understand the need.

The last element is to get mutuality. A communication that recognises the receiver can expect something of value for them too. Sometimes called WIIFM – What’s in it for me. It is said SMART people understanding WIIFM trumps altruism 8 out of 10 times.

Of course it must be ethic mutuality, and there is no point in communicating with someone if you don’t want change or an effect.

What does the formal classical description of smart refer to:

“smart  (smärt)

adj. smart·er, smart·est (the freedictionary)

1.

a. Characterized by sharp quick thought; bright. See Synonyms at intelligent.

b. Amusingly clever; witty: a smart quip; a lively, smart conversation.

c. Impertinent; insolent: That’s enough of your smart talk.

2. Energetic or quick in movement: a smart pace.

3. Canny and shrewd in dealings with others: a smart negotiator.

4. Fashionable; elegant: a smart suit; a smart restaurant; the smart set. See Synonyms at fashionable.

5.

a. Capable of making adjustments that resemble human decisions, especially in response to changing circumstances: smart missiles.

b. Manufactured to regulate the amount of light transmitted in response to varying light conditions or to an electronic sensor or control unit: smart windows.

6. New England & Southern U.S. Accomplished; talented: He’s a right smart ball player.

intr.v. smart·ed, smart·ing, smarts

1.

a. To cause a sharp, usually superficial, stinging pain: The slap delivered to my face smarted.

b. To be the location of such a pain: The incision on my leg smarts.

c. To feel such a pain.

2. To suffer acutely, as from mental distress, wounded feelings, or remorse: “No creature smarts so little as a fool” (Alexander Pope).

3. To suffer or pay a heavy penalty.

n.

1. Sharp mental or physical pain. See Synonyms at pain.

2. smarts Slang Intelligence; expertise: a reporter with a lot of smarts.

Are their other SMART’s out there? Check out this list of acronym, is there more?

Acronym Definition
SMART Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (hard drive feature; warns of problems before total failure)
SMART Self-Management and Recovery Training
SMART Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation
SMART Start Making A Reader Today
SMART Simple Modular Architecture Research Tool
SMART Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation
SMART Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology (NASA)
SMART Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (project; Malaysia)
SMarT Save More Tomorrow
SMART Simple Multi-Attribute Rating Technique (software development)
SMART Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force
SMART Stress Management And Relaxation Training
SMART Swatch Mercedes Art (Daimler-Benz automobile model)
SMART Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending,. Registering, and Tracking (US Department of Justice)
SMART Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely
SMART System to Manage Accutane Related Teratogenicity
SMART Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound
SMART Simulation and Modeling for Acquisition, Requirements and Training
SMART Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association
SMART Special Medical Augmentation Response Team (US Army MEDCOM)
SMART South Metro Area Rapid Transit
SMART Speed Monitoring Awareness Radar Trailer
SMART Satellite Mutual Aid Radio Talkgroup
SMART Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Tangible
SMART State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolset (US State Department)
SMART Somatic Mutation and Recombination Test
SMART Save Money and Reduce Taxes
SMART Systemwide Mental Assessment Response Team (Los Angeles Police Department)
SMART Sustainable Model for Arctic Regional Tourism
SMART Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team
SMART Special Military Active-Retired Travel Club
SMART Strategic Marketing and Research Techniques
SMART Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit (California Bay Area)
SMART System Metric and Reporting Tool
SMART Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely (process metrics)
SMART Soundly Made, Accountable, Reasonable, and Thrifty
SMART Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams
SMART State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training
SMART Smart Motorcyclists Attend Rider Training
SMaRT Sunnyvale Materials Recovery and Transfer Station (Sunnyvale, California)
SMART Somatotrophics, Memory, and Aging Research Trial (clinical trial)
SMART System of Measurement And Reporting for Technologies (Canada)
SMART Surface Mining Association for Research and Technology
SMART Shared Many-To-Many ATM Reservations
SMART Supply Maintenance Aviation Re-Engineering Team (Links maintenance and supply chains)
SMART Self-Measurement for the Assessment of the Response to Trandolapril
SMART Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic, Time-Bound
SMART Simple Maintenance of Arts
SMART Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented, Time-based
SMART Sun Metro Area Rapid Transit
SMART Standard Modular Avionics Repair and Test (software)
SMART Statistical Methodology Analysis Reporting Technique (performance monitoring model)
SMART Senior Medication Awareness and Training
SMART Sunset Marketing and Revitalization Team (Rail advocacy group)
SMART SCSI Managed Array Technology (Compaq Smart Controller)
SMART Sailor/Marine American Council of Education Registry Transcript
SMART Students Making A Right Turn
SMART Securities Market Automated Regulated Trading Architecture
SMART Supportability Management Assessment Report Tool
SMART Sichang Marine Science Research and Training Station
SMART Safety and Mission Assurance Review Team
SMART Secure Messaging And Routing Terminal
SMART Structural Maintenance And Repair Team
SMART Stockton Metropolitan Transit District
SMART System Monitoring and Remote Tuning
SMART Susceptibility Model Assessment with Range Test
SMART Simulation and Modeling Anchored in Real-World Testing
SMART Sequential Modular Architecture for Robotics and Teleoperation (Sandia Labs)
SMART System to Motivate and Reward Teachers
SMART School Management And Record Tracking
SMART Shop Floor Modeling, Analysis, and Reporting Tool
SMART Service de Mesure et d’Analyse de La Radioactivité et des Éléments Tracés (French: Service Measurement and Analysis of Radioactivity and Trace Elements)
SMART Sales Marketing and Real Technologies Pty Ltd (Melbourne, Australia)
SMART Stockpile Materials Requirement Tabulator
SMART Solid Modeling Aerospace Research Tool
SMART Strategies for Motivating and Rewarding Teachers (Houston, Texas)
SMART Shipboard Modular Arrangement Reconfiguration Technology
SMART Southern Maine Alternative to Residential Treatment
SMART Special Medical Augmentation Reaction Team (US Army, Medical Command)
SMArt Sensor-Fuzed Munitions for Artillery
SMART Specific, Motivating, Achievable, Rewarding, and Tactical
SMART Service Management and Resource Tool (Covad)
SMART Short Maturity Analytic and Reporting Tool
SMART Small Motor Aerospace Technology
SMART Stress-Marginality and Accelerated-Reliability Testing
SMART Submarine Message Automated Routing Terminal
SMART Stock Management And Replenishment Tracking (B&Q)
SMART Supply Maintenance Assessment Review Team
SMART Space Mission Assessment for Reliability and Tactics
SMART Sensors Mounted As Roving Threads
SMART Student Managed Academic Resource Time
SMART Signaal Multibeam Acquisition Radar for Tracking (Dutch naval radar)
SMART Synthetic Multiple Aperture Radar Technology
SMART Sustainable Multi Species Agricultural Resource User Trial
SMART Stimulated Martensite-Austenite Reverse Transformation
SMART Stereoscopic Mapping and Rescaling Technology
SMART Super Music Action Ready Team (cartoons)
SMART Systems Management Analysis, Research & Test
SMART Service Management Analysis and Reporting Tool (Sprint)
SMART Shipboard Multipurpose Analysis and Reduction Tool
SMART Scalable Multi-Priority Allocation of Resources and Traffic (Newbridge)
SMART Soldiers Manual, Army Training
SMART Simulation and Modeling Assistant for Research and Training
SMART Simulation Model for Allocation of Resources for Training
SMART Skilled Motor Vehicle and Rider Training
SMART Ship’s Material Assessment and Readiness Testing
SMART System for the Management of Rejected Transactions
SMART Supply Management Army Retrieval Technique
SMART Standard Multiple Application Regulation Topology
SMART Submarine Modernization and Alterations Requirements Tool
SMART Swinger and Magnetic Analyzer with a Rotator and Twister
SMART Special-emphasis Material Action & Reporting Technique
SMART System Management & Allocation of Resources Technique
SMART Satellite Maintenance And Repair Techniques
SMART Southeast Michigan Astrologers’ Round Table
SMART Structures et Marché Agricoles, Ressources et Territoires (French: Agricultural and Market Structure, Resources and Territories)
SMART Southeast Michigan Area Rapid Transit (Metro Detroit public transit system)
SMART National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (federal grant)
SMART Security Management Architecture (Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.)
SMART Simple, Manageable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely
SMART Service Maîtrise des Risques au Travail (French: Service Risk Management at Work; Electricité de France)

Are you smart enough yet? If I was dumb I might say it is ART (attainable, result orientated and Targeted).  Because it is simply then a rating or action to occur if, rather than IF, THEN, ELSE!

Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund discussion paper

What is a position paper when it does not necessarily represent the views of the Government or any Government Minister – It could be a discussion paper and one very recent issue on the CFI related discussion is a position paper prepared by the Land Division of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to promote discussion ahead of developing program guidelines for the Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund. The paper titled Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund Discussion paper for public comment – November 2012.

If you are wondering what does it mean, firstly you need to understand that the Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund is about abatement activities that do not count towards Australia’s emissions targets. It is about a market based incentive for CFI credits that do not have access to other markets. Equally important the Fund will not duplicate other grant-based or research and development funding provided under the Clean Energy Future Plan.

So why do it?  To encourage investment and promote innovation all related to reducing emissions or store carbon and would not have been contributing in other ways to Australia’s emissions targets. A big part of this objective is the ‘learning by doing’.

Looking closer at the Carbon Farming Initiative it is a legislated framework to ensure that abatement is real, permanent and additional. If you want to investigate what is thought of this statement you can read CO2Land orgs post  Real, Additionality, RECs

Posted on August 14, 2012 by co2land “Curiosity lead to checking out the reporting standard AS/NZS ISO 14064, finding it is silent on the word or term ‘real’ and completely avoids the topic of additionality, was fascinating given that you can’t even conceive of an offset without the concept of additionality!

CO2Land org now ponders: If ‘real’ cannot be a guarantee of a good project outcome. It follows that the use of the word or term ‘real’ can be seen as a initial or promised activity increase and not be seen as a guarantee of an increase in the carbon offset (it could be real activity and still lead to a decrease of carbon offsets). So if I say it was real at the time I acted; it was an act in good faith only. The issue with the word ‘real’ is it literally means the activity is a cause of change.

This lead to thinking of the impact this has on the Carbon Farming Initiative as legislated when the Gold Standard and Carbon Fix require that projects be “real”, but no international standard could explain what they mean by using the terms.

CO2Land org looked a little harder (we don’t want this post to be no more than ‘hot air’) and found:

◦    Specifically ISO 14064-2 (project accounting) does not include ‘Real’ because during development of ISO 14064-2 ‘Real’ was regarded as a programmatic rule/criteria, which is outside the scope of ISO 14064-2.

◦    ISO 14064-2 is a standard rather than a program

◦    ISO 14064-2 (Clause 5.4) specifies the following requirement in regards to additionality: “The project proponent shall select or establish, justify and apply criteria and procedures for demonstrating that the project results in GHG emissions reductions or removal enhancements that are additional to what would occur in the baseline scenario.”

◦    Additionality is incorporated into ISO 14064-2 is based on the core principles of ISO standards in general, i.e. that ISO standards not be a barrier to trade (WTO-TBT – anyone following development of ISO 14067 (product) will know this is a major issue). As such, ISO standards must be policy-neutral (extended to include program-neutrality). This is of course very important for market confidence.

◦    ISO 14064 deals with the concept of additionality by requiring that the GHG project has resulted in GHG emission reductions or removal enhancements in addition to what would have happened in the absence of that project. It does not use the term “additionality”…Thus the project proponent may apply additionality criteria and procedures, or define and use boundaries consistent with relevant legislation, policy, GHG programmes and good practice.”

◦    Although the concept/requirement of additionality is within the requirements of ISO 14064-2, the simple reason why the ‘term’ additionality is not present within the requirements of ISO 14064-2 is because of certain sensitivities/perceptions/politics of certain parties involved in the development of the standard. ”

If we press on with the currect discussion paper: You should be aware the Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund will only purchase credits issued under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and the department states the rigorous CFI integrity standards apply to both Kyoto and non-Kyoto projects.

To quote the Department: “The CFI is based on internationally accepted principles for ensuring that abatement is real, permanent and additional; and incorporates safeguards against adverse impacts — for example on biodiversity, water availability and employment. It allows landholders to generate carbon credits for abatement actions, whether or not they contribute to Australia’s emissions targets. All abatement — including Kyoto and non-Kyoto abatement — is subject to rigorous integrity standards, which cover:

  • Measurement:  each CFI project must use an approved CFI methodology to ensure that abatement is measurable and verifiable. CFI methodologies are supported by peer reviewed science and assessed by an independent expert committee (the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee).
  • Additionality:  abatement must go beyond legal requirements and common practice within a comparable industry and/or region.
  • Leakage:  measurement methods must account for leakage and variability and use conservative assumptions.
  • Permanence:  sequestration from establishing trees or building soil carbon must be permanent.

The CFI is administered by the Clean Energy Regulator. It is supported by legislation and includes measures to minimise fraud and dishonest conduct. The CFI framework gives buyers confidence that offsets make a genuine contribution to climate change mitigation. “

Co2land org does not intent to verbatim the paper and you can easily get a download of  the discussion paper at:  http://www.climatechange.gov.au/government/initiatives/carbon-farming-initiative-non-kyoto.aspx .

But if you prefer we can explain what is Kyoto versus non-Kyoto activities. Kyoto protocol was ratified by Australia in 2007 and we agreed to to limit our national emissions in the period 2008-2012 (the first commitment period) and the Government has recently announced its intention to join a second commitment period, consistent with our domestic commitment to reduce emissions by 5 per cent from 2000 levels by 2020.

The Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund promotes land sector abatement that does not contribute to Australia’s internationally committed emissions targets, but represents genuine abatement nonetheless. Some non-Kyoto activities are likely to transition into the Kyoto framework (or its successor) over time.

The Kyoto Protocol establishes an internationally-agreed framework for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions. Australia ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2007, agreeing Land sector activities that contribute to Australia’s Kyoto Protocol emissions target (Kyoto activities) include:

  • activities that reduce agricultural emissions;
  • reforestation (land that was clear of forest before 1990); and
  • avoided deforestation (those present in 1990).

Under a second Kyoto Protocol commitment period (from 2013), it will be mandatory to account for forest management.

Rules:

* The carbon pricing mechanism allows CFI credits from Kyoto activities can be used as offsets.

* You can use the CFI to credit abatement from activities that do not currently contribute to Australia’s Kyoto Protocol emissions target (non-Kyoto activities).

* Credits generated from non-Kyoto activities will be eligible under the Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund, but cannot be used as offsets under the carbon pricing mechanism.

Transitioning activities into the Kyoto framework

  • International climate change negotiations are ongoing. What we have the moment is an intention to join a second commitment period.
  • Forest management and other voluntary land sector activities were not followed in the first commitment period because of risk. Risks that the gains from carbon sequestration could become losses from natural events, such as bushfire and drought. New provisions allow countries to exclude emissions from major natural disturbances when accounting for forest management and reforestation.
  • Accounting for forest management will become mandatory for parties under a second Kyoto Protocol commitment period.
  • Other land sector activities — including the storage of carbon in agricultural soils, grazing land management and the restoration of wetlands — will remain voluntary. Or at least until the Government assesses the impacts in Australia’s national accounts.
    • If activities enter the national accounts, credits from those activities would become allowable offsets under the carbon pricing mechanism and would no longer be eligible under the Non‑Kyoto Carbon Fund.
    • Fence sitters will be delighted. There will be arrangements to help stakeholders to manage uncertainty around the timing of any transition.

What happens if non-kyoto activities are brought into the Kyoto framework? The proposal is :  A voluntary opt-out clause would allow Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund participants to choose to sell to other buyers, if activities become eligible offsets under the carbon pricing mechanism.

What happens from here?  “The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency will continue to consult with stakeholders on the design of the Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund. Interested parties are encouraged to make submissions on the proposals outlined in this discussion paper.

Draft program guidelines will be published in the first half of 2013, for further stakeholder comment. This will be followed by the release of final program guidelines prior to program commencement.”

In the mean time, if you are an interested stakeholder – Submissions are accepted until 14 Dec 2012 from stakeholders. Follow the full discussion and make your comments as described and email to cfi@climatechange.gov.au .

second largest carbon market in the world – kick-off

The official start for California’s Carbon Pollution Allowances purchase of permits at auction starts 14 November 2012. The occasion is described as historic and obliges the state’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters― like power plants and large manufacturers to participate and is expected to pump billions of dollars, in the next year, into California’s economy.

In a previous story California’s ‘carbon market mandate’ posted on 9 October 2012 by co2land it was said “Looking at what the Californian’s have done: They have taken the approach that big business can be encouraged from polluting the environment, and they can be simultaneously funding green industries through an auction permit system. The move is under the California state passed Assembly Bill 1532 (AB 1532), also known as the “carbon market mandate.” It is labeled as a boon for the state, environmentally and financially. Significant fees are levied to major corporate polluters, and those fees are invested into eco-friendly businesses that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The state aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.”

Then more recently on 12 Nov 2012, EcoWatch org posted  “Four Facts About California’s First-Ever Carbon Auction” focused on a post by Emily Reyna about the Environmental Defense Fund. In the preface she referenced President Obama’s remarks about action against a “warming planet” and said all eyes will be on California’s first ever cap-and-trade auction for pollution permits, and it will be the second largest carbon market in the world. This market is second only to the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.

The risk for the auction is low according to the author and even individuals can buy if they wish, and a practice run was held in August 2012 to test the systems.

She offers more information about the nuts and bolts of the auction can be read here, and directly quoting the view of the author on the claims of the program:

“1. This is the best designed cap-and-trade program in the world
California has the good fortune of learning from predecessor cap-and-trade programs like the European Union Emissions Trading Platform, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the Acid Rain Program, just to name a few. Key elements of California’s program include giving free allowances to industry in the beginning years to help with transition; letting entities bank allowances for future use; and establishing an allowance reserve in case prices exceed a certain value. All help keep carbon prices more stable and make for a well-functioning market.

2. A price will be established for carbon, but that will vary as the program evolves
The California program will include auctions four times a year through 2020—32 more times after November 2012. As such, the number of participants, the settlement price and other results of the first auction may not necessarily predict the activity of future auctions. Over time, the market will change and both prices and participation will fluctuate as the cap reduces and businesses decide how best to participate.

3. Money from the auctions will be used to invest in California’s clean energy future
Proceeds from the auction must be invested in ways that further the goals of the law—the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). Though these investments are scheduled to start in the next fiscal year, a specific investment plan is still underway and is being guided by two bills passed at the end of California’s legislative session. Likely project categories include renewable energy, energy efficiency, advanced vehicles and natural resource conservation. In addition, 25 percent of proceeds must be used in ways that benefit disadvantaged communities. These investments will boost clean tech in California, improve air quality and create jobs.

4. California’s leadership will serve as a launch pad for other programs
California is the ninth largest economy on the planet, and the world is watching. No state or country can stop climate change alone, but California’s environmental policies have a history of success and replication, including clean car, clean fuel and energy efficiency standards that have saved consumers across the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars in avoided energy purchases. If the past is any indicator, California’s rich history of leading the nation on responses to critical environmental problems, while delivering wide ranging benefits, means the U.S. is on the brink of something special.

A public notice of the auction results will be released on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, and will be posted to both the Air Resources Board and auction website.”

CO2Land org offers that you might like to visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

Farm related posts – Production, Landcare, Investments

Farmers make up less than 1% of the Australian population today and feeds 600 people – in 1950, an Australian farmer fed 20 people – in 1970, the farmer fed 200 people. Source: Lynne Strong, Bega ABARES Regional Outlook Conference 30 Aug 2012.

Artificial fertilizer costs too much and the dairy industry is returning to the use of nitrogen fixing perennial clovers in its pasture mix to reduce its greenhouse gas footprint. Source: Joanne Bills, Bega ABARES Regional Outlook Conference 30 Aug 2012.

The global dairy trade is increasing every year by between 9-10 billion litres of milk – equivalent to the size of the entire Australian industry each year. Source: BRW 12 July 2012.

A Tasmanian dairy farm has Australia’s first rotation platform that milks 24 cows without human involvement – separate robots prepare and clean the teats, attach the suction cups and disinfect the teats after milking. Source: BRW 12 July 2012.

Warrnambool Cheese & Butter operates the largest and most efficient dairy processing site in Australia – Bega Cheese owns 17% of the company. Source: AFR 03 Nov 2012.

Research in the UK has found that organic farms are less energy intensive than conventional farming – but they are also less productive – that means organic livestock have higher greenhouse gas emissions per unit of milk or meat. Source: NRM on Farms 04 Sept 2012. 

Dr Carole Hungerford of Bathurst links the health of the population to the health of its food – she says that you can’t get healthy animals from unhealthy land – she relates disease and illness to deficiencies in soils – in turn creating deficiencies in foods – she notes that 1 Australian dies every 2 hours from bowel cancer. Source: National Landcare 04 Sept 2012.

Asa Walquist, writer on rural affairs, says that animal products supply one third of the world’s protein – if livestock were eliminated, half as much again of vegetable protein crops would have to be produced to replace meat – but the shift from pasture to cropping would lead to a reduction in soil carbon – increasing soil carbon will be critical to Australia’s future carbon balance – Walquist says that the most effective way to increase carbon levels in soil used for agriculture is to return some crop land to well-managed pasture, preferably native pasture. Source: NRM on Farms 04 Sept 2012.

In the Western Sydney Parklands of over 5,000 hectares, 500 hectares have been reserved for urban farming – small plots are being leased to farmers to keep a food basin close to the capital city. Source: SMH 27 Oct 2012.

Financial losses from events related to weather in Australia have risen 4 fold over the past 30 years according to reinsurance corporation Munich. Source: SMH 27 Oct 2012.

60% of Australia’s researchers work in universities – the highest percentage of any modern economy. Source: AFR 03 Nov 2012.

The driver of the growth will come from improvements in productivity – labour productivity per person in China is only 20% of that of the US – in India and Indonesia it is about 10%. Source: AFR 29 Oct 2012.

Over the next 20 years almost 9 out of 10 new middle-class consumers worldwide will emerge in the Asian region. Source: AFR 29 Oct 2012.

Asia will be home to 4 of the 10 biggest economies within 13 years according to the Asian Century White Paper – China, India, Japan and Indonesia. Source: AFR 29 Oct 2012.

Between 2005 and 2011, US-based corporations invested $550 billion in Australia compared with $20 billion from China-based companies. Source: The Australian 16 Aug 2012.

Chinese consumers have developed a liking for Starbucks, pizza, Haagen-Dazseven and even Santa – they prefer western brands to domestic competitors. Source: The Deal Aug 2012.

95% of Chinese investment in Australia over the past 6 years was made by state-owned enterprises – nearly $50 billion over the last 5 years and mainly in mining and energy. Source: SMH 25 Aug 2012.

Chinese investment in Australia dropped by 51% last year to $19 billion – Australian investment in China grew by 278% to $17 billion. Source: The Australian 26 Oct 2012.

Unilever’s CEO, Paul Polman, thinks that for the next few years the US will be more internally focused – and that China and India won’t be willing to step up and assume the responsibility that comes with size – he believes that this creates a major opportunity for responsible companies to step up to be a force for good. Source: AFR Boss July 2012.

Unilever’s targets for 2020 are: to help more than 1 billion people improve their hygiene habits and bring safe drinking water to 500 million people – and halve the greenhouse gas impact of the company’s products across their lifecycle, from sourcing to consumer use and disposal – also to halve the water consumption associated with the consumer, particularly in countries that are populous and water-scarce – plus halve the waste associated with the disposal of products. Source: AFR Boss July 2012.

Unilever currently sources 10% of agricultural raw materials sustainably – by the end of this year it aims to source 30% – by 2015 50% – and by 2020 100% – by 2020 it also aims to link 500,000 smallholder farmers and small-scale distributors into its supply chain. Source: AFR Boss July 2012.

The Indigenous Land Corporation has gained approval under the Carbon Farming Initiative to earn up to $500,000 a year by selling carbon credits from projects combating savannah wildfires on its Fish River property south of Darwin. Source: The Age 02 Nov 2012.

  • CO2Land org queries the Fish River story and asks where this number comes from as it is unlikely in free trade the price will be higher than $AU10 for some time, and the Government itself in a media release said the number of credits generated from the exercise is 20,000 per annum – simple arithmetic = $200,000. It is most likely the number of $500,000 is a Carbon Tax transitional number and not a continuing expectation.  You might notice we posted Unfinished business, The EU ETS continues (Posted on July 17, 2012 by co2land). The story is about the need of the managers to artificially prop up the price after falling values. “To counter this the European Commission proposes to withhold permits and boost prices by “backloading” auctioning. That is delaying sales due next year until later in the 2013-2020 trading phase. This strategy is designed to maintain the EU carbon prices at no lower than €8.” It follows that Australia has elected to follow the EU ETS and make a transition from the Carbon Price (Carbon Tax) to the market.

Co2Land org thanks Garry Reynolds Caring for our Country National Coordinator, Business and Industry – for the inputs.

Indicators of hope – Environmental and Sustainability

In the 2012 victory speech President Obama call out “the destructive power of a warming planet”. It is reported it was more than words and some action will come from the make-up within the state houses and Congress from this election.

In a story along a similar vein Kate Sheppard for Mother Jones, part of the Guardian Environment Networkguardian.co.uk, Friday 9 November 2012, wrote about wins and the people that will champion the changes. These being: Jay Inslee – Washington State’s new governor; Martin Heinrich – New Mexico’s next senator; Angus King – Maine’s next senator; Pete Gallego – the next congressman, Texas’ 23rd District; Carol Shea-Porter – congresswoman, New Hampshire’s 1st District

Directly quoting Sheppard:

“1. Jay Inslee, Washington state’s new governor. Inslee, a Democrat, who has represented Washington in the House of Representatives since 1993, has long been a champion of renewable energy and sound environmental policies. In 2007 he coauthored the book Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy, on that very subject. He was a member of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming (back before the Republicans nixed it) and the co-chair of the House Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition. He was also a key figure in shaping the climate bill that passed the House in 2009. As governor, he has pledged to continue that leadership.

2. Martin Heinrich, New Mexico’s next senator. Democrat Heinrich defeated Republican Heather Wilson in the race to succeed retiring Senator Jeff Bingaman. Heinrich authored the Clean Energy Promotion Act, a bill that would have expanded the number of renewable energy projects on public lands. (It didn’t pass, but it was a nice idea.) Before joining Congress he was a board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and was appointed to serve as the state’s Natural Resources Trustee, who oversees the assessment and protection of the state’s resources.

3. Angus King, Maine’s next senator. King, an independent, is drawing attention because he won’t say whether he plans to caucus with the Democrats or the Republicans. But environmental groups are certain that he will be a strong voice for climate action, based on his record as governor of Maine. After leaving office, he went into the wind energy business, building a 50-megawatt wind farm in Oxford County. He won endorsements from the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club.

4. Pete Gallego, the next congressman from Texas’ 23rd District. Gallego, a Democrat, defeated Republican incumbent Quico Canseco in this very close House race that featured fights about Jesus and a rare, eyeless spider. An outside group sent a mailer to voters accusing Gallego of siding with “left-wing extremists” in the debate over protecting this spider’s habitat from the construction of a new highway. Gallego won the endorsement of the League of Conservation voters based on his record of, in his own words, promoting a “robust, environmentally-friendly economy.”

5. Carol Shea-Porter, the once-and future-congresswoman from New Hampshire’s 1st District. Shea-Porter served two terms in the House but lost her seat to Republican Frank Guinta in the tea-party surge of the 2010 election. She reclaimed it on Tuesday, rallying support with a poignant appeal for action on global warming: “If Americans want to fix this climate change problem, they will first need to fix Congress in November.””

Co2Land org shares that many people will breath more easily at hearing there are indicators of bi-partisan support and the appointing of persons that care accordingly after the US presidential election.  Our friends have indicated they are happy to hear there are words saying we will work together, that governments will govern, and do more than just put bumper stickers on our possessions.

Balancing energy in your business

In previous arguments the Zero Waste community has been either instructed or advised that revenues from electricity generation using waste materials have no economic benefit, or are too little in the amount of return to be feasible. Other reported arguments are that the material products from the waste stream process have a significantly higher value than generation revenue. Those assumptions can be assumed to be no longer relevant if we approach the problems in a different light. Nor should we discount that technology will advance many techniques and the risk of each decision should be taken on a case by case and/or site by site basis.

If you consider the traditional energy procurement approach: You enter into a standard contract agreement, you concede the terms of your connection conditions and may actually be penalized if you fail to take the load assignment. The problem from this perspective is the supply side is assumed the only legitimate interest in providing energy security. The concept of energy is more legitimate if you refer to the supply and demand balance.

All community is affected by the rising cost of energy, and a number of specialist companies are offering products that approach the three essential considerations in the cost of energy: The energy price, the delivery cost and the carbon price. Something is being done and the “Power of Choice” is doing what it can to address the issues.

The reasons to accept that change is possible is the AEMC and the Senate are the essential bodies that will influence and inform how the implementation of an effective balancing of the National Electricity Market (NEM) and that Demand Participation is the result that is saving $billions for the community, and continuous saving thereafter. If you think this is a relatively new idea, the reality is under the term Demand Response (DR): Alan Fels, Chair of ACCC, on 19 November 2001 made a considerable issue the balancing equation; The Parer Review 2002 presented “Towards A Truly National And Efficient Energy Market”; The EUAA April 2004 presented “Trial of a Demand Side Response Facility for the National Electricity Market”; The ERIG Review November 2006 advocated “Review of Energy Related Financial Markets”; AEMC (formerly by NEMCO) carried Stages 1 & 2 of the Demand Side Participation Review and Stage 3 is in progress.

What does this means if you want to design or reengineer your process products under carbon constraints? On the 1st July 2012 some 250 Australian businesses became lawfully liable to pay $23 for every tonne of CO2e emitted from ‘operational controlled’ facilities emitting 25,000 tonnes or more of scope 1 Greenhouse Gas emissions. A recent survey by the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) revealed that only one third of the organisations surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the question “My organisation is prepared for the implications of the carbon tax”. It follows that an organisations’ total carbon capabilities are critical to creating the transformational business response necessary to not only remain competitive in the short term, but to prosper in the long term. The process for creating this outcome is heavily dependent on having essential carbon management knowledge and skills in place, and an awareness of the commercial & competitive impacts under the carbon pricing mechanism. Small to medium enterprise (SME) are not a liable entity, at the time of writing and where you may not have as yet assessed the impact of the carbon price, you should be aware the large liable businesses pass the cost down through the supply chain.
The supply chain and operating costs will be having an impact on all consumers and suppliers. We know government assistance programs are available to help mitigate the cost pressures & fund critical investment in areas such as energy efficiency. What we do additionally can be our benefit in reducing all manner of waste including energy and energy products.

On 17 October 2012 the Clean Energy Regulator issued a report, and as a selective reference, said that the year ahead is focused on amongst other things ecological sustainable development and that will favour the innovators prepared to rethink business as usual. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) also provides R&D incentives offsets for those groups, and the Productivity Commission encourages rethinking.

It might be time, if you have not already, consider curtailment opportunities, renewable generation, cogeneration or trigeneration (albeit some high profile projects may well prove to be an embarrassment for overblown claims), or combinations of technologies with emphasis on energy savings.

CO2Land org is aware of licensed energy retailers that are operating where you will be rewarded for sharing risk in the energy price, similar companies also can offer demand incentives that you might also have though less than likely. In this scenario at least one retailer will individually profile the site and make an offer for the output or develop a hybrid contract to suit.

Some of the products developed or can be adaptive to your needs to be developed is:

  1. For generators:

Short term grid balancing, renewable and base load, hedging strategies, Greenpower.

  1. Auto load management with shed load or transfer to generator capability
  2. Price substitution, Load shed offers.
  3. Structured options according to risk tolerance and managed adjustments.

The message is you are no longer obliged with the status quo as a price taker, and you can start the discussion and work for what works for you.

If you are confused with the terminology, hopefully the following will help you better understand: The energy market has three components that affect the price we pay: Price response (PR), Demand Response (DR) and the Emergency response (ER).  Electricity price is proven to be largely inelastic, and as we are more reliant on alternative energy sources we notice the costs tend to be absorbed. Therefore our only real option to mitigate the price is a Demand Response (DR). DR is proving its ability to offset the most volatile price driver in the market. For the supply side the capex and opex growth on the distributed network is a large cost driver, generation is the marginal cost of capital to develop the projects. Demand Participation (DP) can help slow down the cost drivers and the supply side will welcome the cost reductions or the ability to reduce accelerated infrastructure build times. In this instance think build and increase capital required for infrastructure projects (pole and wires builds and maintenance needs to cater for the demand growth). Emergency Response (ER) is an energy security problem and is reactionary to large events with little warning.

CO2Land org also notes success with DP and that DR has been implemented in a number of electricity markets. This includes DR for Reserve Capacity in Western Australia’s Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) which works very well.  In New Zealand, with a focus on frequency control being particularly important.

In hindsight, the lack of an effective DR mechanism in the NEM has cost electricity users an estimated Present Value (PV) of $15.8 Billion[1] (this is in the order of a 9% impost on their annual electricity bills).  The power to change is with you.

Previously CO2Land org posted, 7 Sept 2012, The Power of Choice – review by AEMC of DR and to recap the “Power of Choice” Review is an unfinished work, and CO2Land org has experience in the material of Demand Response (DR). DR is most effective as a formal aggregation of small amounts of demand reduction from a larger electricity users who are contracted to reduce this pre-agreed amount of their demand at times when their are extreme wholesale prices, extreme peaks in demand or in emergencies.  It is much cheaper way to address these short term events than our current outdated approach of spending billions of dollars on more generators and networks which are only needed for a total of about 40 hours per year.

References to support this view are:

[1]

  • Alan Fels, Chair of ACCC, speaking at the Inaugural EUAA Conference on 19 November 2001
  • The Parer Review 2002 “Towards A Truly National And Efficient Energy Market”
  • The EUAA April 2004 “Trial of a Demand Side Response Facility for the National Electricity Market”
  • The ERIG Review November 2006 “Review of Energy Related Financial Markets”
  • Stages 1 & 2 of the Demand Side Participation Review (Stage 3 still in progress)

I use to procrastinate – managed to change

I use to procrastinate, but now I am not so sure.  Whenever a new urgent task comes up are you like so many others we talk to find it difficult to say no?  Keeping your focus can be difficult and it gets even harder if you are reaching levels of achievement and you want that to continue your story as your priority.  However, as all project managers will know the problem is change, it is the only constant. If you are an achiever the problem is you risk being called ‘one who procrastinates’ if you seek advice and it seem predicable patterns of behaviour are preferred from us. It is suggested the human brain is hardwired to be predicable, and where groups of people gather there will be change and that can be difficult to manage.

Being a carbon manager requires many skills to be effective and one such skill is change management and to be accredited you must complete units of competency that deal with change.  According to the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) www.aipm.com.au ‘the only constant is change’ and pages 13 to 15 of the Project Manager periodical for October/November 2012, runs the story as such.

The AIPM quotes Prosci (2009) and refers to the Best Practices in Change management where it is said you are six times more likely to achieve your original objectives successfully where you implement change efficiently and effectively, and change management is the structural underpinning of every strategy in every business.

Carbon Management is also about changing cultures and dealing with resistance. To be successful, it needs you to have the team working together. Any other way as an individual will not bring about the necessary change. You also need to be an innovator. Why? Because change must be accepted as an inevitable and as an essential for health and survival and that point needs to be better communicated.

The AIPM also quotes Kotter and Schlesinger (1979) and Trice and Beyer (1993) on ways to change cultures and deal with resistance. The former names – talk of education and communication, participation and involvement, facilitation and support, negotiation and agreement, manipulation and co-optation, explicit and implicit coercion. They even discuss forced change as a last resort and at times essential where speed of action is required. The later authors – name 8 essential considerations for implementing change to an organisational culture.  They refer to the need to find and cultivate innovative leadership.

Contained in the Carbon Management Certificate IV course material run by Carbon Training International (CTI), www.co2ti.com  is an entire unit devoted to organisational based change. They refer to organisational change as defined by Meyer and Bother (2000) as “the movement of people from a current state to a defined state”, and they talk of why change as a concept is relevant. As did the AIPM article refer to Kotter’s resistance to change so do they, only in more detail including the approaches to deal with the resistance to change.  Basic change management strategies quoted by CTI are referenced from Bennis, Benne and Chin (1969) and Nickols (2006) where there are four strategies, namely: Empirical-Rational; Normative-Reductive; Power-Coercive; and, Environmental-Adaptive.

CO2Land org also notes that the key success factors of change management can be determined through 12 critical factors from within. These include: Leadership, Management support, the need for change, participation, defining roles, planning, goal setting, monitoring and control, training, communication, motivation, embedding change. In conclusion the art of project management is as important to the carbon manager as any other strategic discipline, and it takes a strong will and a professional attitude to bring home the importance of the concept of change management.

On reflection, I did procrastinate, but it was more to do with the fear of potential negative consequences, the lack of clear deadlines, and a feeling making a difference was a task that was overwhelming. What changed? There are consequences for delay, the climate and economic situation is escalating and the frequency of change is more evident. Writing this post is an example of the need to change and in part delegating appropriately to someone else, as it is more worrying to do nothing then to act on ensuring the future.

Wellness for Cities – Greenings naturally

Adapting with climate change, rather than ‘to’ is proving to have multiple benefits. At the city levels the buildings can be our food sources, and can be improved to be more energy efficient, even the street can be better designed to help shield the needs for more energy.

Posted on 9 Sept 2012 Co2land.org was a story of innovation on using cities as part of our food production “Another way to design for food production” this story is also a must read for it also tackles the city problems and the innovation needed to prepare for the future. Featured: Stockolm’s purpose build highrise gardens and a Melbourne Hatch System enterprise.

The following is a post on Chicago and how the city is doing more to prepare for coping with climate change: The scene is set with the iconic CITY HALL building installing an impressive green roof in the city. The building has a 7010m2 (23,000 square foot) green roof and serves as a test bed for researching and measuring the impact of green roofs. This one innovation saves the city about $3600 a year in heating and cooling for the building and can reduce the external surface temperature of the building by as much as 80 degrees Fahrenheit! The roof features a spectacular rooftop garden and grows more than 100 plant species. A rainwater collection system irrigates the roof and several bee hives pollinate the many flower varieties. The plants on the rooftop soak up the sun’s heat to evaporate water, keeping both the buildings underneath and the air above it cooler. It is further claimed an expanded similar project for all roofs in Chicago could save $100 million in energy every year, and help absorb stormwater runoff.

Chicago is known for its climate extremes and residents can endure days of summer when the heat index reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. “The city’s annual average temperature has increased by 2.5 degrees since 1945, according to this climate assessment created by a consortium of scientists and commissioned by the city”. Of even more worry is that it is no longer about peak heat, the problem extends as an increase in ambient temperature rises.

To do more the city is working to engineer that it can stay cooler using less energy even as temperatures rise by putting into place innovative ideas and concepts. The green roof is one, and another combating the ‘urban heat island effect’. Simply, concrete and pavement, which absorb and trap heat, make cities like Chicago hotter than surrounding rural areas. Buildings soak up the sun’s rays during the day and release that heat into the night. Additional research (Joseph Fernando of University of Notre Dame) shows that Chicago is about four to five degrees warmer than the neighbouring rural town because of this effect. It is also a worrying trend discovered in research that it is shown that urban sites and rural sites are warming at about the same rate (Thomas Peterson, chief climatologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It does appear by the evidence all life styles are suffering because of climate change: You should also read: Global climate data shows the Earth has been warming increasingly over time.

Hat tip to that city’s officials for the $7 billion plan to build a “new Chicago” (source: Karen Weigert, the city’s chief sustainability officer).  That means renovating citywide infrastructure from sidewalk to rooftop. The additional innovation and steps taken by the city include:

  • Chicago already has 359 green roofs covering almost 5.5 million square feet — that’s more than any other city in North America. City planners are pushing for even more.
  • Chicago has mandated that all new buildings that require any public funds must be “LEED” Certified — designed with energy efficiency in mind — and that usually includes a green roof. Any project with a green roof in its plan gets a faster permitting process. That combined with energy savings is the kind of green that incentivizes developers.

But the city is looking beyond buildings — they’re hitting the streets too:

  • That’s why they’re designing new streetscapes that integrate technology and design elements from widened sidewalks for increased pedestrian traffic to tree and plant landscaping that provide shade. The pavements are made of a light reflecting material mix that includes recycled tire pieces and lanes coated with a microthin concrete layer that keep the street from absorbing so much heat.
  • Chicago’s 3058 klms (1,900 miles) of alleyways traditionally absorb heat and cast away potentially cooling rainwater. But new ‘green alleys’ use permeable pavement that absorb rainwater. As that underground water evaporates that also keeps the alley and air around it cool.

CO2Land org enjoys hearing these stories and in particular where cities consider they need to be looking beyond buildings and streets as just a place where we move vehicles and goods. They need to be places that integrate technology and design elements for a better place.

California’s ‘carbon market mandate’

Announced is California’s Bill for funding green industries, also known as the ‘carbon market mandate’. The headline “State’s Biggest Polluters to Become Funders of Sustainable Farms posted by Takepart.com  – Sun, Oct 7, 2012” and is an intriguing insight into what they are doing and what we are tackling here in Australia in terms of the Carbon Farming Initiative.  Have we got it wrong? Too many initiatives and not enough carrots, and CO2land org has previously published that the Nuffield Australian Farming Scholars say that the long-term capacity of Australian agriculture to compete and succeed internationally will be determined by the ability of Australian farmers to recognise changing consumer preferences, adopt new technologies and production practices and maintain the sustainability of their operations by protecting their production environment  (posted on July 6, 2012 by co2land  “The most innovative Australians are Farmers”).

Looking at what the Californian’s have done: They have taken the approach that big business can be encouraged from polluting the environment, and they can be simultaneously funding green industries through an auction permit system. The move is under the California state passed Assembly Bill 1532 (AB 1532), also known as the “carbon market mandate.” It is labeled as a boon for the state, environmentally and financially. Significant fees are levied to major corporate polluters, and those fees are invested into eco-friendly businesses that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The state aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

The official start for the purchase of permits at auction (called “carbon pollution allowances”) starts November 2012. It obliges the state’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters― like power plants and large manufacturers to participate and “the revenue from those auctions is expected to reach into the billions of dollars in the next year, pumping some desperately needed funds back into California’s economy”, Forbes reports.

CO2Land org has noted it is intended that auction revenues channel into green businesses, this includes sustainable farming, and to be encouraging corporate polluters to find more eco-friendly methods of conducting business. In their states ‘approved list’ a green business includes sustainable agriculture and this includes farms that “sequester carbon” with methods like reducing soil tillage, practicing water and energy conservation, and reducing synthetic fertilizer use through compost, cover crops, and crop rotation.

If you are thinking California is the first state in the US to try a carbon market mandate of some sort, you might be interested to know that Grist reports “that a group of northeastern states, called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has been practicing a similar system since 2008. But in RGGI’s case, it charges carbon allowances exclusively to power plants, whereas California’s plan spans across all sectors of business, dependent on a company’s overall pollutants, not its category”.

As you would expect arguments are springing that the plan for the carbon market cap could be bad for business; it will put too high of a burden on companies, which in turn will either wither and close, or will force those costs onto their customers. It is an interesting experiment to follow and right or wrong CO2land org understands the motivation of the state of California: To not destroy its environment for the sake of boosting commerce. There is no time left to experiment with the future.