One Tonne - Carbon Credit Markets

Alberta’s climate-change fund hands out $6.5M to 13 projects


         The "Big Stick" of Motivation

More than 50,000 people have filed suit against BP, claiming they suffered ill health after the oil giant allegedly released thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals at its Texas City refinery in 2010, according to The Galveston County Daily News.
According to the newspaper, 53,800 people have signed onto a class-action lawsuit against BP, making it the largest number of plaintiffs in a single lawsuit in county history.
Texas Windstorm Insurance was sued by more than 9,000 people after Hurricane Ike.
The lawsuit claims residents suffered ill health effects as a result of a faulty compressor that forced BP to release more than 500,000 pounds of toxic chemicals. The deadline to file a claim passed in May of this year.
Dozens of people interviewed by The Houston Chronicle in 2010 complained of allergic reactions, sinus infections, headaches, nosebleeds and other symptoms.
Linda Laver said in 2010 that she was in perfect health until she developed an abscessed sinus infection, gall bladder failure and pneumonia.
“I told my doctor, ‘You’ve known me for all these years and now all of a sudden I’m having all these things,’” she said in the 2010 article.
Tony Buzbee, whose firm has the bulk of the cases, told The Daily News that all clients were screened before they were allowed to join the suit.
“Our team screened each client prior to filing and encouraged court dismissal of any claimant who wasn’t in Texas City during the relevant time frame,” Buzbee said. “Indeed, as liaison counsel, we are working with BP to ensure that all claimants who have filed are proper claimants. We expect those exposed to be paid fairly by BP either voluntarily or by verdict and anyone not actually exposed denigrates the case of those who actually suffered.”
BP has maintained the chemicals did not harm anyone, and a spokesman for the company said the oil giant plans to defend itself in the upcoming case.
No trial date has been set. Some of the cases could be heard before the end of the year, Buzbee told the paper.

The 36th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the fifteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), the seventeenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) will take place concurrently from 14 to 25 May. All sessions will be held at the Maritim Hotel in Bonn.
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Further information on the sessions will be available soon.

Carbon tax: Good public policy or can we do better?
April 6, 2012 
BC’s carbon tax hasn’t made much difference
By Bruce A Stewart    
Australia’s implementing a carbon tax. BC already has one. So does Québec.
BC’s experience with its carbon tax is that as a vehicle to change consumption patterns, it’s been a bust.
As a vehicle to annoy citizens, on the other hand, it’s done well, indeed.
Then there’s cap-and-trade, still being studied by the civil service in a number of provinces and in Ottawa.
Europe’s implemented this throughout the European Union. BC, Manitoba, Ontario and Québec are partners in the Western Climate Initiative with the American states of California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Montana and Utah: it’s looking into implementing cap-and-trade, too.
Even Alberta has a small, restricted, carbon monitoring and payment scheme in operation.
Alberta’s climate-change fund hands out $6.5M to 13 projects

The assumption underlying all of these is that taxing or limiting carbon emissions is something that requires a governmental framework.
Coupled to it is a little bit of tax shifting, as in BC, where income tax comes down a bit every time the carbon tax goes up.
Or, as with cap-and-trade, the banking system (which acts as the intermediary) gets to play the derivatives and futures market game with carbon valuation just as it does with any other financial instrument.
If the goal is to change behaviour, neither of these have a great track record.
Still, there are two reasons to consider some sort of “carbon program.” Just not these ones.
The best reason to consider a “resource usage” or “consumption” tax on goods produced would be to equalize offshore with onshore production.
No more escaping to a part of the world that doesn’t care about Canadian environmental standards: on their way into Canada, the tax would be applied.
Probably that’s a bit frightening for a lot of people.
The best way to handle setting limits on emissions — if you want to do that — is with a cap-and-dividend system. Not a cap-and-trade.
Cap-and-trade means buying a permit to emit, if you put out more than your allotment, from someone else who won’t use up their capacity to emit. Bankers act to coordinate buyers and sellers. They make fees and trade derivatives to profit on price moves based on expected demand for permits.
Cap-and-dividend means each year every citizen gets a dividend worth their share of a jurisdiction’s emissions.
Businesses that emit need to buy permits. The money goes to individuals, who spend it any way they like. No banker bonuses involved.
Policy makers and bankers don’t like cap-and-dividend. They think you and I having the money is a waste.
If we do need to tax carbon — and I’m not saying we do or don’t — putting cash in each person’s pocket seems the best way.
Maybe over the festive dinner table this weekend it’ll give you something different to talk about.
Have a good Easter or Passover.
Bruce Stewart is a consultant, educator and philosopher with a passion for public affairs currently located in Toronto. He is well known across the Internet for his blogs on management (Getting Value from IT) and social affairs (Just a Jump to the Left, then a Step to the Right) and for his daily stream of commentary on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can reach him at

At the moment, the Carbon market is quoting one Credit as being worth US$10 – 30, which is a bit vague really. Whether you want them or not depends on how much you are prepared to pay and maybe that’s the reason for the large price band. Still, what precisely is a Carbon Credit? It should be based on something more tangible than “the ability to decrease CO2 production to near 1990 levels” (Kyoto uses 1990 as a baseline date). Maybe we might end up issuing too many Credits as we seek to mop up CO2 judiciously and go too far. As CO2 reduction accelerates and we start to gain control over atmospheric CO2, a Credit (the ability to reduce CO2 levels) could become worthless.


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