British Columbia’s Carbon Trading System did not make the B.C. Liberal Government Carbon Neutral

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 30th, 2013

Week in Review

Something the American left really wants is a carbon trading system.  For this in conjunction with a national health care system would give the government great control over the private sector.  Because health care is one-sixth of the U.S. economy.  And everything takes energy.  So everything would be subject to the government’s carbon oversight.

A carbon trading system would basically turn carbon emissions (i.e., polluting greenhouse gases) into a commodity.  If you want to pollute you must pay to pollute.  By buying carbon permits to pollute.  Or paying carbon taxes.  Those who pollute heavily must buy more permits/pay more taxes.  Those who pollute less buy fewer permits/pay fewer taxes.  The idea is to take money from the polluters to give to others to reduce their carbon emissions.  Thus giving everyone an incentive not to pollute.  And a net zero carbon emission.  But in reality it’s just another way for government to pull more wealth out of the private economy so they can spend it how they want to spend it.  Rewarding their campaign contributors.  And providing businesses access to unneeded subsidies (see Auditor general delivers damning report on B.C.’s carbon trading system, Crown corporation that managed funds by Gordon Hoekstra posted 3/27/2013 on The Vancouver Sun).

B.C. auditor general John Doyle delivered a damning report Wednesday on the province’s controversial carbon trading system and the Crown corporation Pacific Carbon Trust.

The report concludes the government did not reach its goal of carbon neutrality in 2010, the year under examination, because the carbon offsets it purchased that year were not credible…

…NDP environment critic Rob Fleming said it’s time to look at changes to the PCT, including ending transfers of public money for emission-reduction projects.

He was referring to the fact that the carbon trading system involves transferring public money from institutions like hospitals and universities to the private sector so the government can declare the public sector is carbon-neutral…

Under the carbon system, public institutions such as hospitals and universities have so far paid more than $50 million for their carbon emissions. That money has been used to fund greenhouse gas reductions projects at private sector pulp mills, sawmills, gas drilling rigs, hotels and greenhouses.

The idea is the reduction projects in the private sector offset emissions in the public sector to zero, allowing the B.C. Liberal government to claim it is carbon neutral.

That’s a first.  Transfer money from sick people to give to businesses in the private sector.  So hospitals can pollute.  Kind of a strange thing for a government to do that puts profits before people.

Of course the big question is who measures the change in carbon emissions?  And how?  For you can’t put a carbon meter on your business.  It takes math.  And some assumptions.  You can tie it to one’s electrical consumption.  But if the user is attached to a section of grid powered by both a coal-fired power plant and a nuclear power plant that’s more math.  And more assumptions.  Did your power come from the polluting coal-fired power plant?  Or the emissions-free nuclear power plant?  And what about burning fossil fuels?  Did the fuel someone burn come from a refinery that processes a high-sulfur oil (sour crude)?  Or a low-sulfur oil (sweet crude)?  More math.  More assumptions.

When it comes to carbon emissions you can’t really measure emissions.  You have to measure inputs.  Such as electric power.  Consuming a lot of electric power could put a lot of carbon emissions into the air.  But not where the consumer uses that electric power.  But back at the power station that produced that electric power.  So who pays those carbon permits/taxes.  The user?  Such as a hospital?  Or the power plant?  Or both?

Anything so complicated makes it easier for people to game the system.  Which is what is happening in Canada.  And why despite spending C$50 million of public money the B.C. Liberal government is not carbon-neutral.


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The Maldives want to Tax Tourists to become Carbon Neutral

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The Maldives is an archipelago about 1 meter above sea level in the Indian Ocean off India.  It’s a tropical paradise that survives on tourism.  Now they want to tax their tourists to become carbon neutral.  Despite the fact that tourists fly in to these islands on big polluting airplanes (see Maldives eyes $100 million tourist tax for CO2 plan by Nina Chestney, Reuters, posted 7/7/2012 on MSNBC).

A voluntary tax on tourists who visit the luxury resorts and white sands of the Maldives could raise up to $100 million a year towards the country’s aim to become carbon neutral by 2020, President Mohamed Waheed said…

“We have proposed the idea of a voluntary fund for air travelers coming to the Maldives. Even if each tourist contributed $10, that’s $10 million (a year) for us and a substantial contribution to the carbon neutral program,” he told Reuters this week…

The Maldives is reliant on imported fuel, like diesel, to generate electricity, which is estimated to have cost its economy around $240 million last year.

I’m not sure how that math works.  The voluntary tax could raise up to $100 million.  Or $10 million.  Which means they have from 1 million to 10 million tourists each year.  Based on an approximate seating capacity of 500, that’s 2,000 to 20,000 roundtrips for a Boeing 747-400.  Or from 6 to 55 per day.  At the low end that’s a 747-400 landing or taking off every 2 hours each day.  That’s a lot of carbon.  Which they can’t get rid of.  Unless they give up their tourist industry.  And “75-80 percent” of their economy.

It has now embarked on a $1.1-billion plan to generate 60 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020. Around 50 percent would come from solar photovoltaic power and the remaining 10 percent from wind energy and biofuels, Waheed said.

The country is rapidly trying to introduce solar in the capital Male and three islands which make up the greater Male area, covering about a third of the population.

It has plans to install about 2-3 megawatts (MW) of solar in the Male area but it would probably need 40 MW to meet electricity demand.

Interesting.  They’re going to replace 50% of their electrical capacity with 2-3 MW of photovoltaic power.  Which is only about 7.5% of the 40 MW they want to replace.  Of course the capacity factor of what they’re replacing, diesel-generated electricity, is about 90%.  While they’ll be lucky to get a 30% capacity factor from their solar cells.  Reducing that 3 MW to 0.9 MW.  Or about 2.3% of that 40 MW they’re replacing with it.  Which means their diesel generators will keep running.  Or there will be nothing but romantic moon-filled and candle-lit evenings.  And cool ocean breezes.  Even in their hospitals.

Perhaps they could find something better to spend that $1.1-billion on.


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