Posting in Design
As I work myself through the flood of sustainability reports and pitches I receive on a regular basis, I've noticed a recurring theme: More and more c...
As I work myself through the flood of sustainability reports and pitches I receive on a regular basis, I've noticed a recurring theme: More and more companies are talking less about their purchases of carbon offsets and more about their investments in renewable energy certificates (RECs).
Indeed, if you check out the criteria that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses to compile its list of biggest green power users in the United States, you'll see that there are three ways you can accrue points for the list: invest in on-site generation of renewable energy, buy utility green power products or purchase renewable energy certificates. (The definition of RECs is provided on the link above.) Carbon offsets don't count. At least not on this ranking.
Let's stop for a moment and ponder the intention of a carbon offset.
To me, buying a carbon offset sort of is the equivalent of stating the following: "I realize I am having an impact on the environment from some of my lifestyle habits <insert production or operational here if you're talking about your company> but I am unable to reverse that right now." This is a rather altruistic motive, at least until you reflect a little more deeply. That's because you can buy offsets with either short-term or long-term intentions. Short term if you EVENTUALLY intend to reverse the impact but just can't right at this moment or long term if you want to make yourself feel better but aren't going to do something about it because it would probably cost too much.
When I've asked business executives why they are increasingly interested in RECs, it usually comes down to something pretty simple: They want to use more renewable energy, but don't have access to supply at some facility or another. This is something that seems less in their immediate control. By buying a certified or verified REC (one that represents new generation capacity has been created), a company is theoretically funding a solution to the problem. Of course, I guess the same could be said of offsets, which usually represent some sort of activity designed to take carbon emissions out of the atmosphere.
Lorie Wigle, general manager of the Eco-Technology office for Intel, which happens to be the No. 1 company on the EPA's Top 50 national Green Power list, says neither offsets nor RECs are really a substitute for the impact of an absolute reduction in power consumption by either a business or individual. This, Wigle says, is her company's top concern looking into 2010 and beyond.
But increasingly Intel is eager to use renewable energy sources wherever possible. The realities of geography and weather notwithstanding, Wigle says renewable resources are still finite. So, Intel is trying to stimulate the production of renewable energy wherever possible.
"The supply has to be there for you to purchase it," she says.
Expect more companies to talk up RECs in the next cycle of sustainability and green operational reports, and get ready to balance your own portfolio.
Oct 6, 2009
IMHO, being "green" has become little more than a shakedown that industry is happy to play along with. After all, wouldn?t it be wonderful if we all could get laws passed that mandated that our customers purchase more of our time, products, and services? Does this mean that I discount efforts to reduce energy consumption? Of course not. I certainly consider the effects of plugging in one more pieced of equipment; if not for the effects on mother earth, but for the additional cost to my (or my client?s) power bill. But exactly how ?green? is it to unnecessarily fill our landfills with perfectly functional equipment just because the new improved model is going to save a few percent in the short-term? As for regulating CO2, please consider this: There is no aspect of your life, from the moment you are conceived until long after you?re dead and buried that does not involve converting matter into CO2. Once government bureaucracies gets the power to regulate the emission of CO2, there will be absolutely no activity that you partake in life that will not be subject to regulation by people you?ve never seen, heard of, or voted for. This will ultimately mean complete control over your life. Sure, today they talk about regulating politically- incorrect activities such as running coal-fired power plants, owning SUVs and jetting off to the Bahamas. But once those carbon-spewing evils are vanquished, what will be next? Carbon taxes will be used to extract wealth from those who were told they wouldn?t be paying more taxes. Next will be burgers at McDonalds, and then centralized control of your home thermostat. Sooner or later, they will work their way down to either some activity that you enjoy in your life, or worse, some activity that represents your livelihood. Nothing you do in your live will be safe from government control. The very concept of freedom in your life, both personal and economic, will be vanquished.
In all the years I have looked at climate change the only facts I have found are (1) The earths climate has been changing ever since it was created and just so happens that we have passed a peak temperature point. (2) the closest cause & temperature graphs are temperature and sun spot activity. Al Gore's Graph only proves that carbon is NOT the cause of temperature rise as his carbon curve goes up AFTER the temperature rise. I believe that carbon offsets are just another way for the governments to glean our money to pay for their own greed and failures both in USA and Australia.
Carbon offsets, RECs, who cares ? It is all a load of crap. The only one benefitting is Al Gore whose company is going to control this monopoly game. May be Al is smarter than we think....he's got this great racket going on that would make Al Capone and Bernie Madoff jealous ! This is nothing short of monopoly money and won't benefit the global cooling problem we are facing. CO2 is not a pollutant. If it was we would have to chop all the trees down and kill ourselves.
If you're in the 1% that calls all the shots, chooses the candidates and sits back, comfortable that it's all for YOU, then yes, 'carbon credit market' is the absolute tops since people caught on to that "do you want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge" scams. Do you really believe Occidental Al Gore gives a crap about something as vague as the climaate? A govt. that 'loses' trillions of dollars and doesn't even bother to investigate because they know where it went is capable of 'controlling' something they don't even understand? These things are not 'copouts'. They're called 'rackets' when applied to the govts. primary competition, organized crime. And at this point I'd trust the Mafia as much or more than the clowns running things now. At least the Mafia knows what the hell they're doing.