CLEAN AIR FOR SALE?

Today, I will commence writing my blog, after stopping writing for more than two weeks for I‘ve had problems with my computer,  because it was hacked, but I’m happy to be back again.

Well, these past days, Hospitals have reported an increase of cases involving Pulmonary infections, Upper Respiratory disorders, Asthma, etc. These cases can be directly correlated with the increase of Pollution, Smoke, and Poor air quality.

Republic Act 8749, or the Clean Air Act of 1999, goes beyond “making the polluter pay.” It focuses primarily on pollution prevention rather than on control by encouraging cooperation and self-regulation among citizens and industries. It also enforces a system of accountability for adverse environmental impacts to heighten compliance to government environmental regulations.

Let us first recall the China’s air pollution which spread throughout the whole world, in a news in New York Times written by Joseph Kahn and Jim Yardley on August 26, 2007, “China is choking on its own success. The economy is on a historic run, posting a succession of double-digit growth rates. But the growth derives, now more than at any time in the recent past, from a staggering expansion of heavy industry and urbanization that requires colossal inputs of energy, almost all from coal, the most readily available, and dirtiest, source.

The World's most polluted city, Linfen, China. Photo Source: china-mike.com

The World’s most polluted city, Linfen, China.
Photo Source: china-mike.com

China’s problem has become the world’s problem. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides spewed by China’s coal-fired power plants fall as acid rain on Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo. Much of the particulate pollution over Los Angeles originates in China, according to the Journal of Geophysical Research.

More pressing still, China has entered the most robust stage of its industrial revolution, even as much of the outside world has become preoccupied with global warming.”

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has partnered with three private entities for the conduct of an inventory of greenhouse gases (GHG) in Metro Manila’s 16 cities and one municipality.

“We intend to undertake under this project an inventory of greenhouse gases or carbon footprint down to the level of local government units.  And this effort is going to be a milestone as this is the first of its kind in the world,” Paje said during the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Manila Observatory (MLAOB) chairman Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J.; International Resources Group-L3 of the Climate Change and Clean Energy Project (CEnergy) Chief of Party Divina Chingcuanco; and SEED Institute President Carmen Ablan-Lagman Tuesday at the Bulwagan Ninoy at the Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

A “carbon footprint” is a measure of the impact of human activities on the environment, specifically relating to the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced by daily activities such as burning fossil fuels, which causes global warming and eventually leads to climate change.

According to him, the project would have scientists and experts in GHG inventory address issues in power, transport and waste management. It would also provide benchmark data for all sustainable development efforts within Metro Manila as it would track GHG emissions within and across city boundaries. The data would then help local government officials manage future emissions and offset their carbon emissions by participating in activities such as, among others, the National Greening Program.

The project is also expected to develop the concept of a carbon bank to serve as repository of excess carbon removals by an LGU who has adopted technologies to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The inconvenience of the sky being darkened is nothing to the lasting effects of all the carbon being thrown into the atmosphere and radically changing our climate by trapping the heat from the sun (once the clouds of ash have disappeared).

Science has correlated climate over the ages with core samples from ice sheets and found that carbon dioxide levels fluctuate or possibly drive, climatic events. Only recently has been able to understand how this CO2 actually works to trap the heat in the atmosphere and by calling it the greenhouse effect gives us the basic understanding of what goes on.

Other gases are also responsible for containing the heat of our planet and some are far worse that CO2. However, since CO2 is the main contributor to the effects of Global Warming, the Greenhouse Gases are known collectively as CO2 emissions. Since a lot of the arctic permafrost is now melting, methane is now becoming more significant which is worrisome.

The same can be said in those developed nations where the simple act of recycling can generate Carbon Credits if it can be proven that the ‘business as usual’ practice of discarding whatever it is that is now recycled will save energy and hence earn Carbon Credits.

Needless to say that the processes for application and qualification for this and other energy saving practices that will earn Carbon Credits are too detailed to go into here. Just type in ‘carbon trading’ in a search engine and remember that agencies will be able to represent certain nations and practices better than others.

It’s pretty simple really in forward thinking theory. All growing things absorb carbon which ultimately ends up in the soil. Planting trees reduces the carbon in the atmosphere but not if they are then cut down and burnt and crops that are planted and harvested will not actually store carbon within them. Crops can be farmed in such a way that the soils are not ploughed to let the stored carbon escape. Weeds and borders to fields can be encouraged. Forests can be left to stand. Fuel usage can be cut and power generation can be more efficient and all this reduced consumption of carbon will mean that less Carbon Credits will have to be purchased. In other words, any potential Carbon Tax will be lower.

That’s where alternative technologies come in. We still have to go about our daily business and not pollute.

A global market may become less global if the cost of a product is measured in terms of total CO2 emissions. The end result will be that we may all be seeking to trade locally. Along with our new found local power generation facilities (solar, wind, fuel cell, biomass, hydro, tidal, wave, nuclear??) we may see a shift away from massive corporations and a move back towards co-operatives. Made in China might be something people in Europe see less of. Alternatively, goods could be moved around the globe super efficiently and only the large corporations will be able to afford this (as they do now maybe!). The ramifications of the Kyoto Protocol are that it will affect the way we measure the cost of items. The development and fine-tuning of the terms of the Protocol are to be introduced in 2008 and it may seem to be a huge headache for businesses and governments alike. However, the increased chance of damaging climatic effects can already been seen. We need no reminder of why we should be very determined to reduce CO2 production as quickly as we can.-Planet Green recycling.

According to Vincent Cabreza of Inquirer.net, he wrote last August 14 2011, that the Kyoto Protocol requires all members of the United Nations to reduce their carbon emissions and mitigate the worsening changes in the world’s climate. But for developed countries, which would need more time to achieve low carbon emissions because of the impact on industries, the protocol designed a carbon trading mechanism that would allow industrialized countries to finance the renewable energy project of less developed nations like Philippines, may undertake Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects to earn carbon creditor Carbon Emission Reductions (CER). Each CER is equivalent to the reduction of a metric ton of CO2e (this unit is translates to carbon dioxide and its equivalent.

An industrialized country can buy carbon credits of Philippine company to add to the volume of carbon emissions. It has set to reduce when it ratified the Kyoto Protocol. But a Philippine company may also convert these credits through climate change markets developed by the protocol, such as the European Union Emission Trading System (EUETS).EU countries hold their own credits, which are referred to as European Union Allowances (EUAs).

CDM Appraisal Toolkit (CATK)

International Finance Corporation (IFC) is working with its partner financial institutions in emerging markets to stimulate lending to Clean Development Mechanism projects. As part of this effort, IFC has developed an Excel-based CDM Appraisal Toolkit (CATK). The CDM Appraisal Toolkit aims to provide financial institutions with an analytical tool to assess risks associated with carbon revenues generated by CDM projects and assess potential lending opportunities against such carbon revenues. A separate manual provides a step-by-step guide for FIs on how to use this toolkit.

photo source: www. ifc.org

photo source: www. ifc.org

The CDM Appraisal Toolkit consists of a set of interlinked Excel-spreadsheets that use historical performance data for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects to assess expected delivery of carbon credits and carbon finance revenue streams for individual projects.  Checklists for common technologies complement historical performance information. Outputs from the CATK are presented in an Assessment Report which summarizes carbon credit issuance analysis results, discounted CER cash flow, project risk summary, qualitative risk analysis, and carbon finance cash flow for debt service.

The CDM Appraisal Toolkit is available to IFC partner FIs as part of the IFC Advisory Services product to enable FIs to enter carbon markets. We are grateful to the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for funding this toolkit.

Carbon markets have been a key driver of channeling finance and investment to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries since 2005, when the Kyoto Protocol came into effect. The verified emission reductions associated with these projects are used to generate financial assets (carbon credits) that are tradable in several carbon markets that have emerged at regional and national levels. The carbon finance associated with the sales of these credits contributes to meeting the incremental costs of ‘greening’ investments. Between 2005 and 2010 the cumulative value of origination and trade in these carbon credits was US $95 billion (Cumulative value of trade in primary and secondary Clean Development Mechanism contracted credits. Source: State and Trends of the Carbon Market Report 2011, the World Bank). Significant investment flows have been mobilized, especially from the private sector, as carbon credits can be used to meet climate commitments while simultaneously contributing to low-emissions economic development in IFC client countries. As more countries seek to establish domestic carbon markets and use carbon pricing to achieve their climate related objectives, carbon finance is expected to remain a key instrument for catalyzing finance for low-emissions development.

Having an active presence in the carbon market for more than nine years, Carbon finance is a key component of the IFC climate business strategy. IFC has introduced value-added financial products to help mitigate risks in the carbon market by leveraging its ability to take long-term project and credit risks in emerging markets. It manages carbon facilities, offers a carbon delivery guarantee product to client companies, and provides up-front loans to projects earning income from sales of carbon credits. IFC also offers advisory services products that help IFC client-banks enter carbon markets.

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