Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Africa CO2lonialism Must Stop

Greetings friends,

This was past on to us here a EarlyBird Foundation by the International Rivers Network. It appeared in the East African on Jan. 25. The author is Mark Hankins of Nairobi.

If you have been a reader of ours for some time you know that we are in agreement and will continue to denounce this insidious threat. Join us and pass it on.

---- Snip ----

Please Mr. Obama: No More CO2lonialism in Africa

In his inauguration speech, Mr. Obama highlighted climate change as a global crisis, challenging American citizens the take on the problem:
"…and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet." Now, as he enters his office and gets to work, we wait with bated breath to see how the new administration addresses the issue that Dubya steadfastly ignored. Indeed, Africa has a special interest in any Obama "Change" approach to climate change --- and the worldwide development of clean energy sources. Of all of the promises on the table for developing countries in Kyoto ten years ago --- massive new streams of finance for investment in renewable energy, energy for sustainable development and poverty alleviation in villages --- very few have come to fruition in Africa. In today's 60 billion dollar a year market for carbon off-sets, Africa is a miniscule player, and the traders active here are mostly briefcase consultants and multinational carpetbaggers. In Africa, for all the noise made, climate change funding streams are merely making scratches in the ground.

So why did Africa lose out? What happened? Where did the money go? The answer is in the history of Kyoto and the resultant market mechanisms that have much more to offer booming carbon-intensive economies like China, India and Brazil than to the risky, comparatively sleepy and carbon neutral economies in Africa.

* * *
Except for Iraq, Somalia, Zimbabwe, the USA and a handful of other rogue states, all nations in the world have signed the 1997 UN Kyoto Protocol. The agreement, which binds "industrialized" countries to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2012, came into force in 2005 when Russia added its approval.

As expected in international negotiations, in the early days there was a lot of blaming and foot-dragging by leaders presented with irrefutable evidence that the earth is getting warmer because of human activities. Developing countries maintained that their own economic growth --- read fossil fuel use here --- should not be stunted because of a problem largely caused by the North. Industrialized countries (called Annex 1 countries in the treaty) felt that penalizing them alone would provide unfair economic advantages to the South. Given the cacophony of tree-hugger activists, indigenous people NGOs and industry pressure groups at the meetings, it is something of a miracle that so much of the world did, eventually, sign up to the agreement.
The Kyoto Protocol forces countries to honour commitments to GHG emission reductions, implement aggressive actions to reduce emissions, "minimize impacts of climate change on developing countries", monitor national GHG emissions and to set up compliance committees.

For better or worse, we have America to blame for the "flexible mechanisms" by which countries must endeavour to reduce their GHG emissions. These include emissions trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation (More on these later). Under Clinton, Americans actually did believe in the science of global warming and Al Gore, who much later masterminded An Inconvenient Truth, was one of those tasked to negotiate the USA's platform in Kyoto. Clinton's Administration unilaterally favoured "market" approaches to solving the climate crisis, rather than politically unpalatable "binding targets" - and the US threatened to walk out of the talks if the world didn't play by Uncle Sam's rules.

The US Environment Protection Agency developed the now-famous "cap-and-trade" model. In short, a cap-and-trade approach set emission limits in countries (i.e. "capping"), penalizing those that exceeded their quota while --- at the same time ---- allowing offenders who exceeded limits to "trade" with compliant entities who did meet their targets. Active trading in carbon would create new opportunities based on the fact that it is cheaper to reduce carbon emissions in the some places (the South) than others. Computer models famously showed that this model was much more "efficient" than any other approach to reducing worldwide GHG emissions, and Kyoto reluctantly bought into it.

Unfortunately, shortly after Kyoto, the Bush regime --- fronting for America's vast coal and petroleum industry --- came into power and declared climate change to be nonsense. Any American support for Kyoto was abrogated --- even the flexible mechanisms it forced on the party --- and, with a few loyal supporters (Australia, Russia) the US unsuccessfully attempted to scuttle the entire protocol.

Kyoto's execution fell to the Europeans, and they took the cap-and-trade message to heart. They quickly developed the multi-billion dollar EU Emissions Trading Scheme that is, to date, the largest carbon market in the world. Millionaire trading companies, based on trading packets of air, sprang up overnight, bringing new meaning to the term "bubble". London became the world's carbon finance center, racheting up a market valued at $60 billion by 2007. Europe's voluntary offset market, worth several billion dollars per year, also developed almost overnight. Due to their clever lobbying throughout the process, more than a third of the first few year's cash bounty found its way back to carbon spewing multinationals who were freely given massive allowances by governments so that they would play along! Indeed, cap-and-trade and ETS was relatively successful in reducing European emissions.

For Africa, the only way to play in the carbon trading market was through the project-based Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) or through the unregulated voluntary emissions market.
CDM is the UN-arranged marriage of the North, which wanted opportunity to off-load surplus carbon emissions and the South, which desired investment and sustainable development. Using the CDM, industrialized country companies can invest in carbon-reduction projects in the South, and claim the carbon reductions. Southern countries register and approve the projects, and a wobbly UN administering system keeps track of the carbon credits. So, for example, owners of a coal-fired power plant in Germany can invest in a wind-farm scheme in China, claim those bona fide reductions, and meet their reduction targets without having to do a thing to their plant.

In 2007, the CDM pipeline had 3000 pipeline projects worth about 12 billion. But here's the rub: In practice, very little has happened with the CDM in Africa. In a recent census, China --- desperately needing green power to supplement the dozens of coal-fired power plants it builds each year --- had on the order of 860 CDM pipeline projects, more than 60% of all projects registered. In the same census, Brazil had 240 pipeline projects. Mexico had 175.

As of August 2008, all of Africa had only 50 registered CDM pipeline projects, about half of them in the carbon-intensive economy of South Africa (Kenya accounts for seven of these, for geothermal, cogen and hydropower projects). In short, Africa doesn't spew out enough carbon to make CDM projects, which must demonstrate avoided emissions, worthwhile! And Africa is a tricky a place to do business... So, the "magic market mechanisms", touted by economists with capes and wands ten years ago, have again failed Africa in favour of more bustling economies.

In the meantime, so-called voluntary emissions traders have set up shop in Africa alongside the development NGO ranks. They famously raise funds by tried-and-true methods: Convincing rock stars (Coldplay, Pink Floyd, etc.) to pay cash for off-setting world tour carbon emissions, or by getting travellers like you and me to pay an $5 extra for air tickets. As was done by the Catholic Church in medieval times, these self-inflicted penalties buy carbon remissions for guilty Northerners through "development projects" that plant trees, promote small-scale village energy systems or help rural poor. Largely un-regulated, these efforts have much more to do with marketing and corporate responsibility than serious carbon reductions or new energy projects, and their record of "success" in actually reducing carbon emissions is extremely spotty.
* * *What started as a plan to bring new and clean energy sources to poor while simultaneously reducing conspicuous emissions of carbon in the North, has met neither of these goals in Africa. It has become a form of CO2lonialism where the money ends back in the north and where the rules of the game are rigged against the very people who were supposed to benefit.

Carbon is an item to be speculated on in the North: bought cheap, sold when prices rise, and off-loaded like toxic stock when the market crashes. In a very cozy world of deal-makers, the same companies that buy and sell carbon also develop projects, calculate carbon savings, validate projects and conduct highly-paid consultancies for multinationals, the World Bank and the UN.
Moreover, country incentives are perverse under Kyoto --- instead of encouraging countries to genuinely plan for reduced carbon emissions, the carbon trading system rewards developing countries that demonstrate a carbon-intensive path! The more you plan to emit, the more you can claim off on your CDM baselines.

But the worst thing about carbon trading is that it does not directly do that what needs to be done now in these days of rapidly accumulating global greenhouse gases. Instead of simply making the polluter pay or change his way, it allows the dirty player to claim credit for something that may or may or not have happened in a far away land. Instead of "acting locally and thinking globally", the opposite happens. Or not.

The little we have had of carbon trading is enough for Africa. It does not work. So, Mr. Obama, when the USA finally does come to the table and signs the Kyoto Protocol, we need the game to change, and we need America to help repair the broken system it help build. We need a much improved system for reducing carbon emissions for the world. We need a system that rewards, not carbon speculators, not deal-makers, not far-away faceless companies whose only care is their own balance sheet, but real builders of the clean energy systems needed today by 90% of Africa's population who go without power and lighting on a daily basis. Like you say, we have a long way to go, but we must face the task and get on with it.


Labels: , , , ,


At 12:45 PM, Blogger Estimate Carbon Footprint, Carbon Offset Estimation. said...

Global warming is the biggest threat for wealthy planet. But many institutes are working on
Carbon Reduction Projects to
Reduce Global Carbon Emissionswhich will provide better ways to tackle.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Anthropogenicagent said...

You have illustrated one of my pet peeves succinctly. Terms such as the "Third World" may not find there way to the press often but it still rattles around in people’s heads. The reverberation of such though negates the obvious. There is not another world apart and that is the problem. We all share the planet; some are the dumpers and some are the dumpees. The sophisticated dumpers find comfort as they hide behind counterfeit altruism.

Keep up the good fight.

At 5:55 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 10.20
tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, michael kors, kate spade, gucci handbags, louis vuitton outlet, tory burch outlet, cheap jordans, uggs on sale, louis vuitton outlet, ralph lauren polo, burberry factory outlet, louboutin shoes, chanel handbags, uggs outlet, nike air max, nike free, michael kors handbags, michael kors outlet online, uggs on sale, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet store, burberry outlet, longchamp bags, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin, longchamp outlet, prada outlet, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, uggs outlet, tiffany jewelry, louis vuitton outlet online, cheap oakley sunglasses, replica watches, louis vuitton handbags, louboutin uk, ralph lauren outlet, uggs on sale, michael kors outlet online

At 5:58 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

coach outlet, converse, vanessa bruno pas cher, kate spade outlet, true religion outlet, true religion outlet, michael kors, polo lacoste pas cher, mulberry uk, timberland pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, nike tn pas cher, louboutin pas cher, true religion jeans, nike air max uk, longchamp pas cher, north face pas cher, coach outlet store online, nike free, coach purses, vans pas cher, lunette ray ban pas cher, nike air max pas cher, michael kors uk, lunette oakley pas cher, hogan sito ufficiale, nike air force, abercrombie and fitch UK, hollister uk, nike roshe uk, lululemon outlet, michael kors, polo ralph lauren uk, longchamp soldes, burberry pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, nike free pas cher, nike air max, jordan pas cher, ray ban uk, nike roshe run pas cher, michael kors outlet online, new balance, sac guess pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, true religion outlet, hermes pas cher, coach outlet, north face uk

At 6:02 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

polo ralph lauren, hollister, nfl jerseys, lululemon outlet, chi flat iron, vans scarpe, north face outlet, nike roshe run, north face outlet, giuseppe zanotti, converse shoes outlet, mont blanc, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp uk, soccer shoes, timberland boots, asics running shoes, hollister clothing, mcm handbags, hermes handbags, reebok outlet, soccer jerseys, mac cosmetics, new balance shoes, instyler ionic styler, nike air max, iphone cases, celine handbags, insanity workout, ray ban, ghd hair, herve leger, vans outlet, nike air max, softball bats, louboutin, converse, salvatore ferragamo, nike trainers uk, abercrombie, valentino shoes, nike air huarache, bottega veneta, gucci, oakley, p90x workout, wedding dresses, babyliss pro, beats by dre, jimmy choo outlet, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses

At 6:05 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

hollister, montre pas cher, juicy couture outlet, coach outlet, sac louis vuitton, louis vuitton uk, canada goose pas cher, canada goose jackets, wedding dresses uk, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, moncler pas cher, michael kors outlet, moncler, moncler outlet, moncler, lancel, ugg uk, ugg pas cher, pandora uk, supra shoes, replica watches, moncler, links of london uk, moncler uk, moncler, barbour, pandora jewelry, canada goose, sac louis vuitton, pandora charms, michael kors outlet online, pandora jewelry, swarovski jewelry, thomas sabo uk, barbour jackets uk, karen millen uk, toms shoes, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, juicy couture outlet, canada goose uk, doke & gabbana, canada goose, moncler jackets, swarovski uk, canada goose outlet, michael kors handbags, bottes ugg pas cher

At 7:52 PM, Blogger mmjiaxin said...

celine outlet online
hollister canada
ferragamo shoes
ugg outlet
true religion jeans sale
chicago blackhawks
michael kors outlet online
cheap jordan shoes
louis vuitton bags cheap
canada goose outlet
discount ugg boots
replica handbags,replica handbags outlet,cheap handbags,purses and handbags,wholesale replica handbags,replica bags,bags outlet,replica handbags wholesale,cheap purses,discount handbags,handbags sale,wholesale purses,handbags and purses,replica purses
air jordan 13
coach outlet online
polo ralph lauren
ferragamo outlet
oakley canada
nike mercurial
ugg boots
coach factory outlet

At 5:25 PM, Blogger ninest123 said...

polo ralph lauren outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, louboutin pas cher, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp, air max, christian louboutin outlet, gucci outlet, louis vuitton, ugg boots, prada outlet, nike outlet, sac longchamp, burberry, air jordan pas cher, louboutin outlet, louis vuitton, michael kors, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, nike air max, louboutin, tiffany and co, uggs on sale, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, replica watches, longchamp pas cher, louboutin shoes, ugg boots, nike free, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, kate spade outlet, chanel handbags, louis vuitton, tiffany jewelry, jordan shoes, nike roshe run, ray ban sunglasses, nike free, oakley sunglasses, ralph lauren pas cher, tory burch outlet

At 5:32 PM, Blogger ninest123 said...

michael kors, nike air max, ray ban pas cher, tn pas cher, michael kors, true religion outlet, timberland, north face, true religion jeans, air force, ray ban uk, nike air max, coach purses, kate spade handbags, michael kors outlet, nike blazer, michael kors, ugg boots, true religion jeans, hermes, vans pas cher, new balance pas cher, oakley pas cher, michael kors outlet, burberry outlet online, ralph lauren uk, north face, abercrombie and fitch, vanessa bruno, hollister pas cher, converse pas cher, sac guess, michael kors, burberry, michael kors outlet, replica handbags, true religion jeans, lacoste pas cher, michael kors outlet, lululemon, nike roshe, hollister, hogan, nike air max, mulberry, coach outlet, nike free run uk, coach outlet, ugg boots, michael kors outlet

At 5:34 PM, Blogger ninest123 said...

mont blanc, insanity workout, valentino shoes, north face outlet, timberland boots, soccer shoes, vans shoes, babyliss, new balance, nfl jerseys, mac cosmetics, giuseppe zanotti, p90x workout, nike huarache, nike trainers, nike air max, reebok shoes, vans, ray ban, baseball bats, lululemon, hollister, mcm handbags, celine handbags, wedding dresses, hollister, soccer jerseys, nike air max, iphone cases, ralph lauren, abercrombie and fitch, instyler, chi flat iron, louboutin, converse outlet, north face outlet, herve leger, bottega veneta, nike roshe, longchamp, asics running shoes, birkin bag, hollister, beats by dre, ghd, lancel, oakley, jimmy choo shoes, gucci, ferragamo shoes

At 5:35 PM, Blogger ninest123 said...

canada goose outlet, moncler outlet, supra shoes, replica watches, toms shoes, moncler, thomas sabo, hollister, marc jacobs, swarovski, montre pas cher, moncler, ugg pas cher, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, canada goose, sac louis vuitton pas cher, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, juicy couture outlet, canada goose, moncler, pandora charms, karen millen, pandora charms, juicy couture outlet, canada goose, bottes ugg, louis vuitton, swarovski crystal, links of london, canada goose, pandora jewelry, moncler, wedding dresses, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, moncler, doudoune canada goose, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, coach outlet, louis vuitton, moncler, moncler, ugg boots uk, canada goose uk

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Liu Liu said...

In a fiery and bizarre Nike Air Max 2015 Shoes 50-minute news conference Tuesday morning, the Louisiana sheriff investigating the shooting death louboutin outlet of former cheap nfl jerseys NFL player Joe nfl jerseys store McKnight held forth at length about the criticism his department has faced; about race Nike Free Run relations and “black-on-black” crime; and what he called Nike Air Max 90 the shameful behavior of some christian louboutin shoes witnesses and the public. The remarks — nominally focused on a recent arrest in McKnight’s death — swerved passionately and erratically among many topics. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand appeared visibly angry as he defended authorities NFL Jerseys from criticism. At one point he described the actions christian louboutin uk of both Nike Roshe Run the suspect and victim as wholesale nfl jerseys “bad behavior.”

At 4:00 PM, Blogger fattoma said...

At 4:10 PM, Blogger fattoma said...

At 1:02 AM, Blogger Mie Helal said...

I have saved it for later


Post a Comment

<< Home