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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why Cap and Trade is Essential

The cap and trade system is not perfect. What system outside of nature is perfect? With limited funding sources for the most important work of our time, reducing emissions while providing environmental and sustainable development. Carbon markets will not only provide funding for Non-profits who are legitimately providing reforestation and sustainable development the will inspire industries to work more rapidly towards emissions reductions. Offsets trade in the currency of the ecosystem, CO2. Carbon could be considered the new world currency.
We will be able to use carbon much like a complimentary currency. It is the metric for the social and environmental part of the triple bottom line. Building carbon markets is the first step towards allowing carbon to have a value per ton placed on it. With incentives to reduce CO2 emissions as part of the bottom line portfolio we will see a more rapid technology shift. Carbon markets are a mechanism to charge corporations for the external damages that have been free to them until now. For example, coal causes millions of dollars of damage to global health and habitat and currently there is no mechanism in place to charge them for that. The low cost of coal is bankrupting economic systems outside of their corporate container and with out a cap and trade system that will continue in the name of short term profits. the NOX and SOX markets showed how the free market could reduce acid rain affectively.
Carbon banking may become more valuable than currency banking. Carbon as a currency is increasing in value and is globally exchangeable. Carbon reductions have an exponential return for the commons. It is a profit we all benefit from. The gold of our time. The value of removing carbon from the atmosphere is expected to double in the next 10 years. This invites corporations to hurry up and switch their technologies quickly before the cost goes from $30 to $60 a ton. It will invite corporations into investing in our earths future. There are trillions of dollars of carbon to take out of the atmosphere that means trillions of dollars towards restoring the planet and building a clean energy economy. With out this funding source non profits and clean energy investments will be stunted by lack of capital.
Everything we do has a carbon footprint or a carbon cost. Every purchase, every trip in the car, every light switch. We are not paying for that; We are borrowing it from our children's future. By including carbon in the market place we begin a process of finally including the externalities that dirty energy and our lives are not addressing. The tax system is equally flawed and puts all the investment money into the hands of government rather than building a free market, global clean energy economy. We have bankrupted our natural world by not including the " currency" of mother earth in our bottom line. Its now time to include the true cost of her resources. That metric is carbon and there is a cost associated with emitting, or if you will, spending carbon.
I understand that the cap and trade system has flaws but in essence so does every new large system. Until we have a system in place we have nothing to police. We are building a new economy, it is different. It will take time to improve it. If we don't begin it then we will never get closer to restoring the planet and providing for the millions of animals, plants and people who's lives and future is severely threatened and with out hope of assistance otherwise. Cap and trade is a huge funding source for non-profits and sustainable development. Reducing carbon can simultaneously reduce poverty, increase habitat, provide safer alternatives to millions. For example efficient stoves in Kenya can not only reduce the number of trees cut, and wood burned they also save lives of woman who are threatened each time they go out to search for wood. Their children breath less soot filled air and don't have untreated repiratory illness. Carbon reduction has a positive affect throughout interrelated systems just as fossil fuels have a toxic affect on many interrelated systems.
Carbon is the currency of our future and will aid corporations in creating a biodiverse bottom line for their shareholders and MORE value throughout the system. MORE is an accounting acronym for Money Organisms Resources Ecology. Accounting for MORE on the bottom line provides MORE value throughout the system. It will give corporations an opportunity to have a long term investment strategy rather than a quarterly return outlook. I vote for carbon markets. Use less Live MORE!

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