Monday, December 7, 2009

Not for COP15: Two we should probably set aside on Day 1
Not 1. Cap-and-Trade. Not 2. Carbon Offsets.

It's not quite transport per se, but it is climate, and yes, climate is transport. So take eight minutes to view this presentation by one team of why Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Offsets are way off target, and worse if climate protection is the game. That at least is the story of "The Story of Cap & Trade."

Don't be fooled by the casual tone. There is real analysis behind this little presentation. (That said, check out Comments below where I am sure we shall be seeing other views on this.)

Here is how they describe their motivations for making this film:
"We made The Story of Cap & Trade to encourage a real discussion about how to solve the enormous climate challenges we face. If there was ever an issue that merited broad, even heated public debate, this is it. I’d far rather people argue about cap and trade and other policy options than ignore them or silently go along with the crowd, even when our guts tell us the solution on the table is inadequate...." (Click here for their full statement.)

Click here to view their eight minute video.

The New York Times of 2 December had this to day about this little film:
"The push by pro-climate bill, anti-cap-and-trade groups is also getting stronger. A film released yesterday by The Story of Stuff, Free Range Studios, Climate Justice Now! and Durban Group for Climate Justice is aimed at the general public and attempts to explain the cap-and-trade concept in a simple way. It tells listeners that "the devils in the details" of cap and trade including free allowances and offsets will only line the pockets of Wall Street..." (You can read the full NYT piece here.)

You may also find that it useful to have a look at the annotated script which provides foot notes on just about all of the points made. Click here for script.

Sometimes it's simple. Transport and Climate change

I am not sure if irony is the right word in this case, but we can be absolutely sure that both Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Offsets are going to get a huge amount of attention in Copenhagen this week. But we could, if we chose to, do a lot better.

We are, the transport sector that is, as you know something like 20% of the problem. And when it comes to how all six and a half billions of us get around in our day to day lives, there are only two solutions that will do the job: (1) Carbon taxes and (2) New Mobility choices. There is no other way out.

Now all we need is the leadership, the strong consensus to get us there. Stay tuned.

And make youir voice heard.

Eric Britton
Editor, World Streets

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  1. Juan Carlos Garcia, ColombiaMonday, 07 December, 2009

    Hi Eric:

    Thanks for the video. It realy depicts what´s going on with the hidden agenda of world powers. In fact, energy will be our next battlefield. Countries controlling energy wll simply rule the planet. We are facing today an increasing shortage of cheap energy and the solutions to this ongoing problem are no longer in our hands. It may sound a litle bit tragic but we need to face the facts. Climate change discusion has opened up the doors to a vast number of sub-strand problems, including energy. However, amid the fuzz debates and expert panels being held around the planet, interes groups and financially-oriented audiences have seen great perpective for exploiting this opportunity: while holding a mask, a green mask, how to exploit new energy and cheap polluting resources such as coal?The discussion point now has turned to be a core need of our societies: energy. Let´s hope societies are ready to live without it ....because there is where we are going to..a world which will be split between energy owners and energy consumers, people able to pay what it takes to count on this household commodity.

    Juan Carlos Garcia, Colombia

  2. This video has been thoroughly rebutted.

  3. I thought it would make sense to provide some excerpts from the first part of one of the rebuttals to this policy piece. So from 'Cataloguing the Errors in "The Story of Cap and Trade"' Here we go:

    Posted by Eric de Place. Source:

    Exactly what's wrong with the web video sensation.

    There's a viral Web video making the rounds. I don't like it. (For context, read my first post on this subject: "A Story of Ignorance About Cap and Trade.") Today, I'm going to catalogue its errors.

    You can find the transcript here (pdf), though just reading the transcript doesn't give you the full picture of the snark conveyed by the animated cartoons that accompany Annie Leonard's delivery in the video. Here's the video:
    Now, let's take an inventory of all the errors. Get comfy, it's gonna take a while.

    "Okay, meet the guys at the heart of this so-called solution. They include the guys from Enron who designed energy trading, and the Wall Street financiers like Goldman Sachs who gave us the subprime mortgage crisis."

    False. For decades environmental activists, progressives, and scientists have labored against overwhelming odds to enact a cap and trade program. In no sense are "these guys" from Enron and Wall Street at the heart of the solution. They are not now and they never have been.

    But I've got to hand it to her: this insult really stung. All these years that tens of thousands of folks like me have worked long hours at low pay (or no pay) to hash out a workable and effective climate policy and it turns out that our purported allies like Leonard would rather paint us as duplicitous bankers in pin-striped suits. (That's not an exaggeration, by the way: that's how the animated cartoon depicts cap and trade proponents throughout the video.)

    "Their job is to develop brand new markets. They stake their claims and then when everyone and their grandmother wants in, they make off with huge amounts of money as the market becomes a giant bubble and then bursts."

    Odd. Uh, what? This doesn't really have to do with cap and trade so I should probably leave it alone, but it's perplexing that this is what she thinks markets do. But I want clarification from the bien-pensants to my left: are progressives now anti-market in all circumstances? Do the recent bubbles mean that we're now supposed to be, in principle, opposed to stocks, commodities, etc? Are we supposed to hate the acid rain cap-and-trade programs too?
    "...they’ve got a new idea for a market – trading carbon pollution."

    False on two counts. It's not a new idea. Brokers have participated in cap and trade markets since the 1990s and in carbon markets for about a decade. There have been no instances of gaming or market manipulation.
    What they trade is not carbon pollution -- sounds nasty, right? -- but a limited right (an "allowance" or "permit") to emit carbon pollution.

    For the rest turn to


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