Archive for June, 2007

Here is a link to a discussion of “why geosequestration is another distraction.”


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In a recent entry about the EU market, I questioned how long it would take the US to catch up. An article at Bloomberg.com today reports that the high rollers are all wagering that the US market will bloom like a mushroom after a spring rain. The more risk averse are banking on change as soon as a new administration takes over in DC, but there is already action in Congress. The large US banks are already hiring carbon traders, who are busy buying inexpensive certified emissions reduction credits (1 CER = 1 tonne of CO2 equivalent or tCO2e) created under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. Most of the CERs are from China and India. The traders are counting on a 200-300% return on investment if the US carbon market takes off. One plan is to bundle carbon credits with power contracts. When US electric utilities are faced with carbon caps, the carbon credits will allow trader to sell power contracts at lower prices. We will see how it plays out. But with all the money queuing up, a large US carbon market appears to be a good bet.

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“Drive less, surf more” is the best advice I have heard on mitigating human GHG emissions. Surfers serve as an indicator subspecies. Spending time at the interface of wind and wave, a surfer’s health reflects the state of the atmospheric and aquatic environments. If you ever enjoy spending time on the moist margins, here is how climate change might change your coastal environments.

“Do you have any advice for a traveler?”
“Yes. Get a beach house.”

“A beach house isn’t just real estate. It’s a state of mind.”

“A beach house doesn’t even have to be on the beach. Though the best ones are. We all like to congregate,” he went on, “at boundary conditions.”
“Really?” said Arthur.
“Where land meets water. Where earth meets air. Where body meets mind. Where space meets time. We like to be on one side, and look at the other.”
Arthur got terribly excited. this was exactly the sort of thing he’d been promised in the brochure. Here was a man who seemed to be moving through some kind of Escher space saying really profound things about all sorts of stuff.

“You come to me for advice, but you can’t cope with anything you don’t recognize.”

–from Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless, pp. 80-81

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The Environmental Law Prof pointed out several months ago that we should base regulations to limit CO2 emissions on the Montreal Protocol. She correctly called the Montreal Protocol an “effective regulatory approach” because it combines a stringent phased-in ban with trading during the phase down. She appeared to be a bit less optimistic about the Kyoto Protocol, and by implication the trading schemes associated with it.

Although there are still some skeptics, it appears that the European Union Emissions Trading System (EUETS) may also turn out to be an effective regulatory approach. Climate 411 reports that the EUETS naysayers usually focus on the short-term rise and fall of the current price of CO2, but often fail to consider that EUETS is still in the pilot phase because the Kyoto Protocol emissions reduction period does not begin until 2008. Another optimistic sign is that the carbon futures price has held relatively steady at $20-30 per ton of CO2 and is expected to be in the $30-40 range in 2008.

The cap and trade system in Europe seems to be providing some incentive for innovation, see the report 5852_harvestingthelowcarboncornucopiamarch2007.pdf. In regard to carbon capture and storage (CCS), the report states that the European Commission plans to publish a regulatory framework linking CCS to the EUETS. The methodology for allocating CO2 emissions allowances will also by revised. Existing coal-fired electricity generation plants will be allocated allowances on a CO2/kWh basis; new plants will have to be carbon neutral.

The US advocated for a cap and trade system within the Kyoto Protocol. The other parties accepted cap and trade, but the US eventually rejected the treaty. Now the EU is setting the lead in CCS. How quickly can the US catch up?

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No lawsuits please. These images are being used to educate educators. Anyway, the this post will self destruct soon. carbon-capture-storage.ppt

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Disclaimer: The author writes this from the periphery of the inner circle. Humor is a way of having fun while making fun of. In this case, I’m taking sides (the side of the party that pays), yet I am the bearer and the brunt of this hilarity. But before becoming upset, realize that I am telling jokes in the mirror.

In the face of peak oil, Texas lawyers are getting briefed on climate change. Billable hours are set to correlate with global average temperature. New regulations and cap and trade schemes will bring steady work for some stress-ridden scriveners, but the big money will be in litigation. In the wild west, Houston lawyers are queuing up represent insurance companies in law suits against energy companies. As reported by Greenwire, one lawyer predicted that “You’re going to see some really serious exposure on the part of companies that are emitting CO2.” In an even more ambitious attempt to cash in on contingency fees, another group of barristers is filing a class action suit against God. Even if this case is settled out of court, there is a chance that carbon sequestration will not be necessary.

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Our Senators voted on an energy bill the other day just before midnight. Perhaps they were in a rush to get to the after hours party.

It appears that the provisions of the Senate energy bill authorizing an inventory of the potential geologic storage reservoirs for CO2 and supporting DOE’s 7 large sequestration test sites are still in play. They now go to the House of Representatives for a vote. I do not see any serious objections arising in the House. See the 14 April entry for more on the testimony in regard to carbon sequestration.

For those involved in carbon sequestration in the U.S., this sentence from S. 1419 is interesting: “The Secretary shall promote, to the maximum extent practicable, regional carbon sequestration to conduct geologic sequestration tests involving carbon injection and monitoring, mitigation, and verification operating in a variety of candidate settings…”. When something happens, I’ll provide an analysis.

Here are some links to other blogs.

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