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December 29, 2006



I would add that the carbon retail market is about to boom in 2007 after having a steady start since 2004. A new report on the carbon offset retail market shows that retail offset providers face several challenges in supplying credible, cost effective offsets to the market. After finding a price of £1.5 ton/CO2 per carbon credits in US, I was surprised to see prices in different carbon offset websites from different countries ranging from £2.50 up to £12.40 with an average of £5.10 tonne/CO2. In the Brisith case price ranges from £7.40 to £9.00 tonne/CO2 which I see ludicrous because this could mean that we pay more without making a real benefit on the environment. This make me wonder if the price this offfset providers charge is really the cost of the project or the money is being taken by intermediaries. I think this market needs more transparency so we as consumers can evaluate the offset quality, where the money goes, how the project are selected and benefits they provide to the environment and communities. It will be sad to see that our hopes to mitigate Global Warming by offseting our emissions are not helping as they should. CarbonSMS.com recently posted some questions that we should ask offset providers when buying carbon credits as reference. In addition to carbon offsetting we need to take other measures that could have more impact.


Of course, if we look at the Stern Review, the target recommended by most scientists of 400 ppm CO2e is dismissed as bad for business. Stern doesn't even think 450 is 'realistic' because he'd have to give up economic growth. So he's aiming for 550, if a whole lot of things come together, which I beg leave to doubt. Meanwhile he makes much of the opportunities for fat returns on investment and I notice that Paul Wolfowitz is enthusiastic, talking about a plan he and Jolly Green Gordon (Brown) have to make the developing world, who will bear the worst consequences, pay for a range of very profitable high-tech adaptation measures on credit, via the World Bank.

Perhaps we could get Bono or Bob Geldof to stage a soothing media event to celebrate this, while the City of London rejoices.


Here's a closely related list of the Top 10 green corporate initiatives of 2006. There's a little overlap, but not too much.


Timing of the EPA announcement about changes to the Toxics Release Inventory Rule -- right before Christmas, as many reclined in a carb induced haze -- seemed to be designed to keep this action off of the "10 worst" lists. The opacity of the information provided on the EPA website doesn't help even the above-average reader to figure out the impact. (But, BTW, the SBA has announced that this will be "good for small business".)

Joel, maybe you can shine some light on this one?

Erich J. Knight

I tryed to post about Terra Preta soil technology, my number one vote for your list.

I got a spam message rejection

Just Google " erich J. Knight" to see the post with all the links.

Thanks, Erich

iridescent cuttlefish

I notice that "green chemistry" has made the list, but I'm a little confused about this. At one point, Joel, you reviewed chemurgy rather dismissively, implying that technical innovations were still needed in order to really revive this suppressed science, while on the other hand you also cautioned against the potential for green-washing, especially at the hands of folks like James Woolsey who went from CIA director to hemp spokesman in a relatively short time. Something doesn't smell right here.

First off, the processes used by Ford to make his bio-car were fairly well refined already by 1932. Further refinements & patents came from Germany, both during and after the war...technical feasibility is not wanting. Control, both political and economic, exerted by those who profit from the hydrocarbon economy is. You don't have to toss around words like "conspiracy" to see which of the bread is getting buttered here.

What I find most irksome here is not the old story of vested monopolies pretending to act in the public interest, but rather the focus on green chemistry as a fuel science. Biomass is not the greatest promise of chemurgy--product applications, specifically in replacing everything made from petroleum, is. Consider the environmental and social impact of getting rid of plastics...

My fear is that when the chemurgy revival finally comes, it'll be controlled by the same interests who conspired to bury it (see Dave West's "Low, Dishonest Decade") and instead just continue the practice of collusion, suppression and the age-old business of steering artificial economies of scarcity. Business as usual...


Walmart green, yah right. How about greenwashing? How can you call yourself green when you import cheap plastic crap from the other side of the world. This stuff then ends up the the landfill, often within 3 months of purchase. Let's see their report card on percent of goods they import and then we can talk green. Green is good when green is local.



What happened with Wal-Mart's solar project? Was it delayed? Any company got the contract? I would love if you could keep us posted. I did some research and I haven't found any news regarding this subject.


Carlos Serra

Joel Makower

Here's the latest on the Wal-mart solar RFP.

-- Joel

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