It was suggested by Perth Business Gateway to rewrite the 2001 proposal to use the Millennium Dome as a global environmental management centre, this time relevant for Scotland in 2006. The outline executive summary, Scotland:The World's First Ecological Superpower, was produced. The next stage is to implement it, what do you think?

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Carbon Offsetting: The Gold Standard

The Government has recently proposed a standard for carbon offsetting schemes. MP2 will in the near future be offering such a scheme. Anticipating the proposal and as a information resource on carbon offsetting we started to produce a Q&A section last year. Using the technologies we have developed we plan to move the standard of offsetting to another level over and above anything the Government may consider as a gold standard.

The World Wild Fund for example run a carbon offsetting scheme. As part of their awareness and fundraising programme they use the quote "climate change is a greater threat than terrorism", which they attribute to the Governments Chief Scientist Sir David King, especially in ther participation in the Stop Climate Chaos campaign. Though Sir David was not the original author of the concept. MP2 was with a submission, Changing Futures, to a UNED-UK report commissioned by the UK Government 13 months before Sir David published.

Even though the WWF do not pay any money to MP2, it is our R&D base which is assisting their and many other organisations offset schemes. That report from 2002 also linked Climate Change and Africa, which became the agenda for the G8 in Perthshire in 2005. Influence or prediction? How much is MP2 already contributing to carbon offsetting around the world, with it's leading edge work assisting other organisations. Even without planting a tree MP2 has helped change the consciousness of a planet for the better. How many tonnes of carbon has that offset?

The exploration of carbon offset figures make for an interesting journey into the world of planetary ecology and political policy. The figure given to the Government consultants in the Dome bid of 2001, as the Domes market potential as an environmental management centre was $1000 billion per year, the damage to the global environment. The UN and other organisations gave a figure of $200 billion, but this was for climate change alone. What about pollution, species extinction, loss of bio-diversity related stability and all the other damage being inflicted on to the environment as a consequence of human activity, plus the exponential nature of the rise of this damage (cost)? Both the consultants on 17th April 2001 and Pete Wishart MP on 9th January 2006 accepting the figure on the basis of it's rationale.

When PM Tony Blair gave a keynote speech on the environment to the world's media on 14th September 2004 he gave the cost of damage to the environment as $150 billion per year. Less than a sixth of the figure supplied to the Government's consultants 3 years before.

Take the figure for the market potential of the Dome. $1000 billion is in dollars, so to make it more understandable, lets us convert it to £s. Here we have to realise the dollar has recently fallen against the pound. If we use a recent rate as if by magic it would look like the damage to the global environment has reduced. If we use an exchange rate of 1.76 dollars to the pound, similar to the rate in place at the time this will give a more realistic assessment of damage.

This figure is:£568,181,818,181 £568 billion of damage per year to the global environment due to human activity.

If we are going to look at carbon offset we need to consider how much oil we consume a year. This is 80 million barrels a day or 29,200,000,000 barrels per year.

For those like to ask "Do you know....."
The world uses just over 1 cubic mile of oil a year.

A barrel is 42 US gallons, which is less than a UK gallon, so we have to convert from barrels to US gallons (at 1.2 US to the imperial gallon) to the UK gallon we are familiar with, giving 1,022,000,000,000 UK gallons.

It could be said that this is not a true picture as some of this oil may be used in the production of plastics or other products and not burned as fuel and that gas or coal have not been brought into the equation. Again the fuel could have been used in a chain saw to cut down a rain forest, being used as a 'multiplier' increasing the destruction of the planets ecological life support systems. The intention here has been to give an overview of the situation, to make those large global figures understandable, tangible and human in scale.

To find the amount of damage to the environment in pounds caused by oil use divide the environmental cost by the number of gallons giving
55.6p per gallon or 12.25 p per litre

With many politicians reading this site and with all the political parties working out their environmental taxes perhaps we should leave this article on carbon offsetting there for now, with our damage to the environment based on the £1000 billion figure.

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