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Saturday, January 26, 2008

carbon copy certificate

RNZ reports:
There are hopes a carbon neutral certificate awarded to Christchurch International Airport will lead to airlines taking part in the scheme. Landcare Research gave the airport company a carbon zero certificate this week for measuring, managing, reducing and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. The airport has invested in regenerating native forest to offset its climate change impacts. Landcare Rearch says Christchurch airport can influence airlines to go carbon neutral and encourage other airport players to do their bit.
The process of getting a carbon zero certificate can cost up to $50,000.

It's not mandatory, there is no tax break. The challenge this year is to find a way of making these credits transferable and that will involve certification legislation if it is to work. At the moment "green" taxes (or debits) on pollution and rewarding good behaviour (monetising credits) does not exist. This was what was signaled by Kyoto to start happening. The main problem is that smaller businesses will have to be inspected to assess their emissions because there is no way that anyone would willingly go out and stick there hand up to voluntarily pay a tax. As it is voluntary, sure, some firms will "greenwash" themselves by having a shiny sticker, but they will be the ones that are not polluting much at all. Kevin down at the workshop throwing old tyres into the mangroves and the guy across the street having a burn-off will be unaffected by all the current measures.

Not that I know what the solution could be or whether it's desirable to have a pollution census and force people into the scheme. But how else will Kyoto work? Everyone has to be in, the govt. is going to have to certify everyone and each govt. certification standards are going to have to be audited in turn by a world body because if that doesn't happen then we can't have the international aspect of transferability that Kyoto envisaged. I can't believe that rich and stupid countries will be paying smart and poor countries money for nothing - for actually not doing something (like chop down their trees) - is ever going to happen. It doesn't make sense. I assume each country or group (like the EU) are going to be trading just within their own systems.

The carboNZero site has a household calculator with energy, transport, waste and recycling as the main data fields. Looks a bit much for the average householder to fill in, but that said it might prove to be a sort of eco-budgeting tool if you turned it into $ instead of CO2 emissions.


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