Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cleaning Up the Carbon Biz, Pulitzer Style

We linked to Jeffrey Ball's Wall Street Journal stories on problems in the CDM on Sunday and Monday.
The reporting apparently caught some other folk's attention too.

Joe Barton
Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce

John Shimkus
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Go here to see what they wrote to The Honorable John Dingell, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
(hint: you'll find a reference or two to our old friend, additionality)

We also touched on it and on the 'verifiers' in November:
"A Fifth of U.N. Carbon Credits Maybe Bogus: WWF"
One of the major supports for the housing binge was the fact that at the bottom of the inverted pyramid of financial non-, mis-, and mal-feasance was an appraiser who could be influenced, pressured or bought.

In the carbon trade you have the same situation with the third-party verifiers.
Making it even more fun, rather than a physical property as the basis for all the financial engineering, we buy, sell and package the absence of an invisible gas.
What a great time to be alive....
And in July: "Cattle, Carbon and Conifers"
Many years ago my father told me about his experience with a cattle operation (the tax deal du jour).
One fine spring day he decided to head out to South Dakota; He had a good excuse for a road trip.

The way he told it, he and some of the ranch staff were standing on a ridge looking out over hundreds, if not thousands, of head of cattle and he asked the assistant foreman "which ones are mine?"
"None of them", the cowboy responded,
"Yours all died"

I am reminded of that story by this headline at Treehugger:
"Zerofootprint Guides: Offsetting, Part 2, the Additionality Issue in Offsetting"
Why?; you would be fully justified in asking.

Because the way my father told it, his story was an object lesson in issues of co-mingling, identification, allocation of profits (or losses) and possibly hypothecation.

My reaction would have been closer to "Where's my bleepin' bovines?"

My favorite carbon offsetting story is from the Isle of Skye, earlier this year:...