Mendacity – a policy choice, not the economy

Mendacity is an interesting word. “Are you aware, my lord, that mendacity is an organized body, a kind of association of those who have nothing against those who have everything; an association in …” www.thefreedictionary.com .

So what is the agenda for our government practicing mendacity, or at least willingly portraying itself as such? Take for instance being told we are part of a budget emergency, and the sky if falling. Attempting to instil fear into the population. Then outside bodies tell us, in financial terms Australia is reported to be one of only 6 countries in the world with an AAA reporting agency rating. The rating is enduring from the previous Government. What parallels can we make with other countries? Are the same issues facing them and how do or did they handle the financial pressures verses social responsibility?

In wanting to determine our story we only had to look across the ditch – the ditch is a colloquial term used by New Zealand to describe the body of water separating Australia and New Zealand. The recent federal budgets of the two countries draws a line on the difference in government style and puts forward that very similar conditions underline what is facing each country. Yet, the fiscal responses are different for each. It gets even more interesting when you consider the two governments’ are regarded as conservative – it gets truly bazaar.

What is different about New Zealand? Maybe it is all covered in the story “New Zealand forecasts 2014-15 surplus in budget that bears striking difference to Australia’s”. By New Zealand correspondent Dominique Schwartz :

In Australia we have been asked to go through pain. Whereas in New Zealand has been “served up one of the rarest of economic dishes: a forecast budget surplus of $NZ372 million ($340 million) in 2014-15, after a $NZ2.4 billion ($2.2 billion) deficit this financial year. Also on the menu were election year sweeteners including extended parental leave, and free doctor’s visits and prescriptions for children up to 13 years old.

By contrast, Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered a hard-to-swallow $50 billion deficit accompanied by a collection of bitter pills, among them, co-payments for GP visits and cuts to welfare, family benefits and the public service.”

So as to balance the viewpoints, it is worth taking note of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) New Zealand partner and corporate tax leader Geof Nightingale. From the Schwartz story it was said:

“I don’t think it’s a tale of two different economies, I think it’s a tale of two different policy choices,”

“The fundamentals of each country are quite similar. Australia’s forecasting economic growth of 2.5 to 3 per cent. New Zealand is much the same.

“Australia is forecasting to get unemployment down to about 4 per cent, New Zealand’s much the same.

“Australian politicians have ridden the mineral boom and failed to address the country’s deficits. What’s happened is corporate tax revenue has fallen off but structural spending has increased and so the deficit got wider”

Noting what the New Zealand prime minister John Key says: “His government has kept spending at about the same levels for five or six years as the country claws its way back from the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes.

We’ll be racking up $NZ7.5 billion worth of surpluses in the next three or four years; Australia will have amassed about $100 billion in debt.”

Mr Key continued that “the Australian economy is still reasonably robust and is not in crisis, but he warns the economy could face a crisis of confidence.”

Co2Land Org takes particular note of the issue being described as of a crisis of confidence.

Two important indicators are showing a genuine movement away from Australian:

A growing number of New Zealanders living in Australia are choosing to return to the greener pastures of home, and fewer are crossing the Tasman in the first place. The drift over the ditch has fallen from around 3,000 New Zealanders moving to Australia a few years ago to less than 350 now.

Mr Key says: “So what people are responding to is that they see a strong growing economy in New Zealand.”

According to Johnny Weiss, the founder of the Trans-Tasman Business Circle, reported Business is also making the move:

“We’ve seen quite a bit of relocation of Australian business to New Zealand.

As New Zealand maintains a competitive edge [regarding] pricing, costing and scalability it will be a very attractive place.

Business confidence is much stronger here than in Australia, so companies that want to move quickly find in New Zealand very good talent and quick decision making.”

Another difference is the Key government has not lifted the retirement age, nor are you subject to a means test your pension.

Nor does New Zealand budget to pay down net government debt, which is expected to peak at $NZ66 billion ($57 billion) in 2016-17, or 26 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Why do they not worry? Because they understand that: “The net debt gets smaller as a percentage of GDP [only] as the economy grows past it.

Why worry about Australia: Australia is one of New Zealand’s major trading partners, accounting for 40 per cent of all Kiwi exports.

So no matter how much Mr Key enjoys talking up New Zealand’s rockstar economy at the expense of Australia, he knows his nation’s fortunes will rise or fall along with those across the Tasman.

And Mr Key says he sees no storm clouds on the horizon. But we read into this that more confidence in Australia would be helpful for all of us. And, we need to add in New Zealand they raised the GST a few years back without affecting welfare of its citizens. Can we assume the agenda in Australia is to raise the GST to 15%, but they are so addicted to being fear raises they did not know how to be nice!

 

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The trust envelope – a view

Warning: There’s been changes to the wording of different parts of the contract. Sound familiar, whether is it a Chemist, a Bank, Telco, or any transaction you may have experienced it before. The reality is you not asking hard questions means you have lost something. Let us quote Dr Sandy Donald responding to concessions given by the Queensland Health Minister reported on 15 April 2014: “There were a lot of areas that gave the doctors almost no power to influence decisions and also a lot of areas we felt were open to misinterpretation.” What is the point you say?

The point is it is modus operandi for most dealings today to exploit trust. A Prime Minister might say ‘I am confident’ rather than ‘I confirm’. However, we might expect the weasel word language from that profession. But what happens when a Chemist says: Will you accept a cheaper brand? Think about that question: Did the Chemist say I would pass on a price advantage to you? Well in all likelihood no, the contract is I will give you a cheaper brand, it makes no guarantee you will pay less. You need to ask that question: Will I pay less if I take a cheaper brand? You may find the answer is no!

Without a Bank example we are low end of the Scale, A major telco has used very similar language and supplementary information in a very similar way too. Namely, you received an offer to upgrade. On the surface you are much better off for a reasonable rise in administration fees. You receive a supplementary advice, including: ‘With approval bank, will transfer any promotional rates to the new account’. Feeling good, hey! The welcome pack arrives and the Letter of Offer contains the words: Acceptance will transfer the promotional rate for x period at xx%. Then in the second sentence it says: Upon Expiry, the rate will revert xxxx balance xxxx. Look carefully at this phrasing and supplementary information, as it is as the Dr in the opening part of this post said ‘open to misinterpretation’. Learn to ask the hard question: Did you or will you transfer the promotion rate to the updated card? Most likely answer is no. You might also be taken back to hear ‘If you did not ask the question we had no obligation to tell you’. It follows that once you accepted you have no power to influence the decision to expire the offer.

CO2Land org can hear you say, but we have rights. Not anymore, unless you ask the questions. Em, trust – that may be an error.

 

 

The elasticity of renewable demand and controversity

Newly-elected federal Liberal MP for Hume, Angus Taylor, is a committed anti-wind campaigner and is reported to be against the NSW government decision to allow the “controversial” Collector Wind Farm decision. In the reported post it was said he hinted policy and that the Renewable Energy Target (RET) review would likely prove the undoing of the wind farm industry in Australia –

“Projects like this seem set to continue unabated until a national review – which the new federal government has committed to in 2014 – can reveal the true economics behind the industry,” he said. “The RET review will look into the massive subsidies for wind farms, which are forcing up electricity prices and propping up an economically unviable industry.”

Source:  Hamish Boland-Rudder, Reporter at The Canberra Times | December 5, 2013 | www.canberratimes.com.au .

Unfortunately, in this country, we have again simply decided that ‘a review’ will do, to ignore that real innovators will suffer. The statement may be best viewed if you dissect the last quote above. In particular: subsidies – the go against the traditional models for supply; forcing up – obviously painful to the traditional models; propping up – this is the corker, as it suggests unless it is the traditional supply model the demand balance cannot be effective. If you think even harder you can also come of the view energy efficiency will be discouraged as decreased demand for energy will threaten the ‘viable’ industry. The most interesting part of all this politicking is that it ignores that what is driving all this angst is that technology is quickly overtaking the industry. Technology that is outmoding conventional supply systems. Like all technology advances it takes courage to move forward, to encourage the uptake and reward the innovators. But, alias my dear for that we need a review and force unreasonable cost to those with the shallow pockets.

However, is the secret deal as simple as reducing subsidies and reducing prices? Unfortunately economics is not that simple it also involves elasticity.

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.

RET designs – Abbotititis or Rudasinus.

Do you have Abbotititis or Rudasinus. Bored with the election being in your face yet not meaning a thing.  Then there is ‘real’ again – It just means it will be reviewed and in the mean time your asset is at risk of being stranded because of the ‘Election’. You are told any decisions will need to be taken with a view of caretaker convention and then we will wait until the ‘dust settles’ and the view of the incoming Government is known.  Can you understand the frustration? Promises are being made yet we are told they are real until after the election!

Now lets look at the promised policy positions:

The Coalition talks of ‘real’ abatement in terms of energy efficiency. The flagstone is the Direct Action Plan. This plan will or may impact your business. We say this because the White Paper consultative process that the Coalition will initiate will only be known should they win office. Yes the ‘real’ is it will be a consultative process expressed as the opportunity for your business to provide input into the design of this ‘potential’ new policy framework. In more simple terms it means the details are not yet developed. However, the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has a commitment from the Coalition to retain a 5% to 25% reduction of emissions by 2020 compared with 2000 levels, but will review this commitment in 2015 (then other statements say 2014). That said they intend to wind back many of the provisions of the Clean Energy Future Plan including abolishing the carbon price and disbanding the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Climate Change Authority, the Climate Commission and the Energy Security Fund. Then we should note the Coalition intends to expand the existing Emissions Reduction Fund to introduce a buyback, and also plans to expand the Carbon Farming Initiative to achieve emissions reductions in the absence of an explicit carbon price – but the reductions must be ‘real’ against baselines ‘to be advised’.

It is most likely the Coalition’s plans to meet emissions commitments will be more disruptive to electricity supply industries and their downstream industries than labor’s.

Labor (why is it called Labor?) – Reported is among other things, this name makes it easier to distinguish references to the Party from the labour movement in general. Source(s): http://www.alp.org.au/australian-labor/l…

Maybe that is ‘unreal’!

 

Labor has two major policies for abatement changes. Continuing of the Clean Energy Future Plan, and the review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET).  The current RET compels large energy users to invest in renewable energy. This is to the benefit of industries such as wind and, up to an including hydro-electricity. The RET purpose is to introduce more capacity into electricity markets and push down wholesale electricity prices. Therefore the RET is challenging for fossil fuel electricity generators, and the changes will affect them directly and the upstream industries, including oil and gas extraction, brown coal mining and black coal mining, indirectly.

 

That said, Labor is committed to a 5% to 25% reduction of emissions by 2020 compared with 2000 levels, and an 80% reduction on 2000 levels by 2050. Labor has also taken the position and made an announcement of an early transition from the carbon tax to an emissions trading scheme in July 2014, bringing it forward from the previous announcement of 2015. Under the scheme the carbon dioxide equivalent would have a floating price linked to the prices of the EU’s emissions trading scheme. Under this policy, the price per tonne for carbon dioxide is likely to be discounted. The impact uncertainty is what will be the effect on the industry assistance packages included within the Clean Energy Future Plan.

Co2Land org said Labor supports the current 20% RET. This still holds true, as the responsible Department (name too long to mention) and advised work on the review of RET is suspended until further notice, and Labor has made a commitment to not review the target until 2016.

Labor’s changes to the Clean Energy Future Plan will create new winners and losers across energy-intensive industries. Labor’s changes maintain a pricing mechanism as a strategy to reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

 

Co2Land org has noted IBISWorld’s August 2013 Report has a more detailed outline of the positions taken by the Labor and Coalition parties on major issues impacting Australian industry including workplace reform, energy, resources, broadband network, transport infrastructure, manufacturing and education. They write:

“The 2013 Federal Government election will be dominated by concerns about the economy. The end of the mining investment boom and the continued decline of the manufacturing sector have set a pessimistic tone among Australian businesses.

The Labor Government has taken a ‘glass half full’ approach, pointing out Australia’s strong economic position relative to other advanced economies and successful economic guidance during the global financial crisis.

In contrast, the Coalition points out a widening Federal Budget deficit, a declining economic growth rate, low business confidence and a weak economic performance relative to neighbouring countries.

The winner of the election will have to balance the government’s role to provide fiscal stimulus and counter-cyclical spending with budget responsibility and a plan to reduce government debt.

The Productivity Commission has estimated that there are $12 billion worth of cost-cutting and efficiency savings available to the Federal Government.

The Coalition has backed away from providing a date for a return to surplus, but asserts it will be sooner than a Labor surplus.

Labor forecasts a return to budget surplus in 2016-17, driven by savings made during 2015-16 and 2016-17 when the economy is expected to be in a healthier state than it is presently.”

 

Wait a minute, recently the coalition did say they aim to save $31B – now we are confused – will the ‘real’ number please stand?

Please note: No Green was hurt in this discussion.

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.

Falling Short – F.I.T. in renewable power

A desire to improve the competitiveness of Renewable Energy in Australia’s power mix is problematic and it is not necessarily technical limitations that hamper the project or is it financial limitations despite bank risk concerns. Especially if the later is supported by the Government bringing forward $160 million in Clean Technology Investment Program (CTIP) funding to 2014-15 to increase manufacturing investment and boost productivity and competitiveness – The budgets key message that CTIP program demand is strong and growing, and there is no change to the funding commitment.  It also is possible the coalition could maintain the $1 billion commitment to the investment programs, albeit it may be called something else for branding purposes.

Co2Land org argues it is not sufficient to be experience in, or have an understanding of the challenges in the design or deployment of renewable energy solutions. That is referring to only the infrastructure, energy output, utility area of responsibility, power capability, transmission and distribution capacity, or even storage technology as the solution set.

The more dangerous issue is the means that an uncooperative energy utility can muster a political wedge and creates sufficient doubt of the effectiveness of the program that will lead to a fall-out with the community. Recently in Australia Co2Land org has been given information that a bitter war is engaged between parties over such a Queensland power line duplication proposal and it all seems so unnecessary. As an observation there is room for both sides to move on this one. However, the agenda may be more complex and looking further afield Canada has some lessons we could learn from over the growth of renewables and why utilities might be so sensitive to the growth of such. It could be our problems in Australia are similar to the following as the Pike Research report that says energy is becoming increasingly democratized and the role of utilities is changing, from producing power and supply markets to purchasing it from distributed sources. We also know in Queensland the State Government has a large ownership stake in generation and supply – albeit they are not alone from the other states and it all gets down to variation of the model as opposed to opposition of the models of operation. Regardless each has ample opportunity to hamper success of ‘buy local’ feed-in into the grid system as the rules stand.

Looking further to the problems of Canada and the utopian belief that all would embrace the new world, it is reported by www.energymanagertoday.com, on 21 May 2013:

“Ontario has fallen short of its goal of creating 50,000 jobs and 5 gigawatts of renewable energy power with its ‘buy local’ feed-in tariff program, despite gathering early momentum by generating 31,000 jobs and turning one in 7 farmers into energy producers, says a report by the Institute of Local Self-Reliance.

Hydro One, the province’s largest utility, has been a major roadblock to progress says ILSR report author John Farrell, since it set a limit of sourcing just 7 percent of its energy from distributed renewable sources, compared with 15 percent for most US utilities. In US states where the cost of power is high, like Hawaii and California, utilities have upped the limits even further, at 25 and 50 percent respectively.

Farrell says Hydro One did not prepare to accommodate the boom in distributed power from the FIT program and missed deadlines to link up to new sources of power. As a result, despite overwhelming demand for FIT and contracts being signed for most of the 5 gigawatts, only 10 percent of the projects are producing electricity now.

Because of the demand for FIT, Ontario will actually be able to shut down all its coal-fired plants next year, and meet most of its 2030 renewable energy goals 12 years early – but its notable success has come at a price, since unprepared utilities were not able to bring the contracted energy on line.

The slow development led to political backlash that nearly toppled the ruling Liberal Party in the 2011 elections. It did lose its majority, which Farrell says jeopardized support for FIT. The Great Recession also stymied progress.

Since then, Ontario has reviewed the FIT program and revised its rules last year, doubling its focus on local ownership and participation. Farrell believes the move, which he says should have been adopted two years ago, will reduce political angst and local opposition and increase return on investments.

Farrell suggests that the Ontario Power Authority needs to streamline its process for developing renewable power with existing contracts and push utilities to get better at determining grid capacity. It should also review whether utility-scale mega projects make sense, given the difficulties in getting it to market. With these changes, “the FIT program may still live up to much of its early promise” he says.”

Sometimes you have ask – why do we ignore the obvious in Power Play? I answer is it is the nature of things to only see our side as a team play, and there is no I in team. ‘I’ referring to the society as a collective, and it has no advantage to be a collective outcome.

 

Its Real – again

That word ‘real’ has popped up again – and we must prepare to again endure the use of a synonym and have it portrayed as the truth. Perfect for politicians is the use of the word or term ‘real’ as it can be seen as a initial or promised activity increase and not guarantee an increased activity (it could be real activity and still lead to a decrease of activity!!). So if I say it was real at the time I acted; I have been true to my intent to act in good faith, and equally a review of my intent can happen when convenient. The issue with the word ‘real’ in this context is it literally means the activity is a cause of change.

To put this in context in August 2012, Co2Land org wrote two stories that looked at the use of ‘real’ with implications for the Carbon Farming Initiative its legislation and regulations. In the Story

Time for a real review Posted on August 20, 2012 by co2land , the opening paragraphs said:

‘Smart forms of research has found that customer service and sales skills are considered the least important when building a brand, and it would seem big brand and government know this very well. This might explain why any meaningful programs are explained in a way of the language of spin. For what is done would we not prefer to hear or feel that our policy makers value some measure of the actions and actively seek feedback from those that influence our lives at least every 6 to 12 months from a startup campaign. This view suggests government is a business – a business that must please its total stakeholder basis.

Why should this happen? Take a look at quotes taken from the writings of Laurissa Smith and Anna Vidot (www.abc.net.au ), on Monday, 20/08/2012, the story ‘Carbon farmers challenged by rigorous process’: “The guidelines which set out how they can make money from schemes like the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative are still being developed…It’s still sitting under consideration with the Domestic Offset Integrity Committee which is the committee tasked under the clean energy regulator to review the methodologies…So we hope that it’s going to become available for public interest by early 2013.” This is extremely frustrating when you consider the Department responsible made announcements of a body as set up for Carbon Offsets in June 2010.”

While numerous new methodologies are now approved – what holds true is that branded entities and those that were transitioned from the Greenhouse Friendly Program benefited, and most farmers that hoped to earn credits have not.

Then in the story Real, Additionality, RECs Posted on August 14, 2012 by co2land , the opening paragraphs it was said:

“Observing CTi’s Carbon Offsets 2 day Masterclass offering, it occurred that a US based mob was on about getting real about ‘real’ carbon offsets. Curiosity led 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”.

Then if you consider where ‘real’ is covered with a contrived definition and includes the concepts of completeness and accuracy in accounting, and leakage. It does so as no more than use ‘real’ as a synonym!

It would also appear that additionality is the next condition that might be the excuse that you cannot be real and 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 –

And, the following references helpful in gaining a more complete understanding:

ISO 14064-2 addresses ‘additionality’ with a general requirement and reference-out to the program rules (link = http://www.co2offsetresearch.org/policy/ISO14064.html#Additionality).

Also http://ghginstitute.org/2012/01/25/how-do-you-explain-additionality/

 

finding Climate skeptics are a bore

We need to go from hindsight to foresight, no matter what it is it is an issue that impacts us all. And, we find Climate skeptics are a bore. They focus on quantifying an antithesis, and the evidence keeps mounting that they are always being proven ill-informed.  Regardless of the disagreements the “how” of Stern’s argument is still valid, calculating today’s prevention costs against future damage costs.

It could as well be applied to the debate about the existence of man-made climate change – The IPCC is now 99 percent certain that it exists.

Even if it was a likely hypothesis that deniers be true: That, as they decry, the money spent on developing a response to climate change was in vain and achieved no real difference to climatic conditions. CO2Land org says would it not be that the money is well spent when the new products available to the world enhance capacity building, are the result of finding energy alternatives, increase energy efficiency, provide forest protection, reforestation, coastal protection, glacier melting water management, zero waste management, increasing disaster resilience and many other activities that are sensible for a bunch of other reasons? They would be a benefit even if climate change were not a reality.

So instead of boring us with criticism, be productive and calculate the real damage from erring on a macro-economic scale. And, consider the paradigm of wasted opportunity and how you would apply discount costs for finding and implementing alternative energy sources 50 years from now, when oil and gas are or will become scarce? That is when it is too late even to adapt to what is obvious now! As friends recently retorted: It is time to be a doer, we are sick of the gonna (slang for talk about and do nothing)

 

the notion of “water flow uphill”

“They thought there was a communication problem, and that what he was saying (‘Getting the water to flow uphill for the plants’) should not be taken as a literal translation. Interesting that many of us armed with conventional wisdom, with sleeves rolled up and espousing there is only one view of the world. That is a world with a benign bias that is a result of their own ignorance, a bias shared by the establishment where they are happy to “Recognise traditional owners” but completely ignore 40,000 years of stable landscape management as being not scientifically based (due to their own biased view of what constitutes science).

Co2Land is not the author of what is written in the opening paragraph. However, on reflection it is very possible we are ignorant if not wrong for what we believe to be truth.  Truth, like real, prior, could be a synonym or even a proprietary product and still be wrong. We could be ignoring one of Einstein’s greatest tenants (the universe depends on the perspective of the observer).

Looking at the concept of a net movement of water away from drainage lines is possible when you research even at a basic level, like Wikipedia, or as follows as published by http://science.jrank.org/pages/1182/Capillary-Action.html#ixzz2JIvrD9qD:

“The force with which water is held by capillary action varies with the quantity of water being held. Water entering a natural void, such as a pore within the soil, forms a film on the surface of the material surrounding the pore. The adhesion of the water molecules nearest the solid material is greatest. As water is added to the pore, the thickness of the film increases, the capillary force is reduced in magnitude, and water molecules on the outer portion of the film may begin to flow under the influence of gravity. As more water enters the pore the capillary force is reduced to zero when the pore is saturated. The movement of groundwater through the soil zone is controlled, in part, by capillary action. The transport of fluids within plants is also an example of capillary action. As the plant releases water from its leaves, water is drawn upward from the roots to replace it”(Read more: Capillary Action – Liquid, Water, Force, and Surface – JRank Articles ).

This illustrates that science supports what the indigenous know in that water can back out across the slopes due to capillary action and in this way encouraging growth and interconnection of the soil “fungal mat”, and from the perspective of the observer in the drainage line moving the water ‘uphill’.  With a closed mind we might say ‘not possible’ – yet the Romans BC did it with viaducts and manipulating volume pressures to do so.  Should we have an open mind for these things? The answer appears to be it is beyond a cost benefit it is just a big yes.

If we relate this to the methodology process of the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) a strong case can be made for inclusion, greater than savanna burning. As told to us we could see success and it opens up millions of hectares of bush to better management part funded by carbon credits generated.  The advocates of this method gave CO2Land org an example of what could happen in an area of 1000ha. Said was: “If patches are prescriptive burnt on a ten year rotation then this would yield 120 tonnes of soil carbon sequestered a year, and if we assume 360 Australian Carbon Credit Units (CFI credits) @23 dollars per tonne. An income boost of +$8000 a year is possible”. If accepted is it noted all of this is possible from this activity without wholesale alteration to the natural balance.

CO2Land org has previously postulated that $7,000 per annum is needed as an enticement for participation in complex methods so this possibility would be enough to offset the liabilities of land ownership (rates, weeds control, land use etc), and give additional benefits that include productivity improvements and/or other opportunities generated.

If you wish to be critical we accept that the bio char method is acceptable under National Resource Management program (NRM). However, out point is in order to incentivize a market for the concept the CFI and ACCU’s are a better way to go and could open up a multi product concept with the potential for the way forward for the sustainable environment and hopefully those faithful to carbon will no longer be in a blue state and that will be because they no longer will be only living in hope and will be able to participate in a reality. We will get a result.