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carbon offsets

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  • Simon Norton
    I don t quite understand what the paper quoted by Lee Schipper means by cost control for emissions permits. Some time ago I came across an article about a
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2008
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      I don't quite understand what the paper quoted by Lee Schipper means by "cost
      control" for emissions permits.

      Some time ago I came across an article about a Swedish paper which proposed
      emissions reductions of more than 100% to be covered by offsets. The article can
      be seen at <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2008/oct/06/climatechange.carbonemissions>.

      In the paper it is estimated that compliance with these targets would cost the
      average Swedish citizen $1.2 per day. This seems to me wildly optimistic. I
      would regard $12 as more likely and $120 as more likely still. The fact is that
      if we have any emissions targets compatible with staving off the worst effects
      of climate change the supply of emissions permits will fall well short of
      demand, which means that prices will climb through the roof. There is no way to
      stop that until we have emissions free energy on a sufficiently large scale to
      satisfy the world's needs.

      Is this what the paper, and the environmental groups mentioned in the summary,
      are trying to say ? If so I feel it could have done so more clearly.

      An example of the problems we face can be seen in the aviation industry which
      (in the UK at least) is basing its plans for expansion on the principle that it
      will be able to buy permits to cover any extra emissions at a price which will
      add just a few pounds to the average air ticket. But how can this be if other
      estimates indicate, as they do, that the continuation of expansion will mean
      that the aviation industry will soon be accounting for the whole of the UK's
      permitted emissions ?

      All this puts in my mind a vision of people sitting in dark, cold houses unable
      to get to sleep because of the perpetual noise of planes and cars. This may be a
      caricature but to my mind it is far more likely than most of the scenarios for
      climate control peddled by the aviation and motoring industries.

      Simon Norton
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