Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A carbon arbitrage opportunity?

Risk passes along an arb idea which while totally impractical got me thinking:

European carbon emissions credits cost over 20 Euros per ton of CO2.
Hardwood pulp wood costs about $8 an English ton in Mississippi so about $8.80 per metric ton. Carbon could be sequestered by burying the wood in the desert in permafrost or sinking it deep in the ocean. How much would this process have to cost to make it a less attractive option than reducing carbon emissions in Europe ?

I've taken a look at his maths. Wood is roughly 50% carbon by dry weight. So a tonne of wood give you 0.33t of water, 0.33t of carbon and 0.33t of everything else - for $24. Meanwhile, one tonne of CO2 emissions - for €20 - represents 270 kg of carbon (the rest is oxygen), which you could buy in the form of 0.81 tonnes of wood, costing you €4.76.

The idea? Virtual arb at Second Life!

Here's The Flack on one of the virtual tree planting programs in that virtual life:

I was pleased to see American Express's "Members Project" anoint as one of its 50 finalists the virtual-to-actual tree reforestation program developed by my friend, colleague and sometimes client Rob Key of Converseon. (You've all seen the Scorcese spot.)

For those of you who didn't catch my post on "Second Chance Trees" around Earth Day, the innovative program allows visitors to Second Life to plant one of ten species of virtual trees (at a cost of 300 Lindens or $1.50) on a special island. The planting of the virtual tree triggers Plant-It 2020, an environmental group founded by John Denver, to plant the physical tree in the endangered rain forest to which it is indigenous.

This may take me away from the blog from time to time but never fear, I do it for you Gentle Reader.