Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Lost My Home To Global Warming

It appears that Global Warming is already causing people to lose their homes in China.

The hydroelectric dam, a low wall of concrete slicing across an old farming valley, is supposed to help a power company in distant Germany contribute to saving the climate — while putting lucrative "carbon credits" into the pockets of Chinese developers.

But in the end the new Xiaoxi dam may do nothing to lower global-warming emissions as advertised. And many of the 7,500 people displaced by the project still seethe over losing their homes and farmland.

"Nobody asked if we wanted to move," said a 38-year-old man whose family lost a small brick house. "The government just posted a notice that said, 'Your home will be demolished.'"

The dam will shortchange German consumers, Chinese villagers and the climate itself, if critics are right. And Xiaoxi is not alone.

Similar stories are repeated across China and elsewhere around the world, as hundreds of hydro projects line up for carbon credits, at a potential cost of billions to Europeans, Japanese and soon perhaps Americans, in a trading system a new U.S. government review concludes has "uncertain effects" on greenhouse-gas emissions.

One American expert is more blunt.

"The CDM" — the 4-year-old, U.N.-managed Clean Development Mechanism — "is an excessive subsidy that represents a massive waste of developed world resources," says Stanford University's Michael Wara.
So you have to ask yourself - what does Al Gore have against the people of China? I suppose it is nothing personal. Just business.
Forced relocations have become common in China as people in hundreds of communities are moved to clear land for factories and other projects, provoking anger and occasionally violent protests. But what happened here is unusual in highlighting not just the human costs, but also the awkward fit between China's authoritarian system, in which complaints of official abuse abound, and Western environmental ideals.

Those ideals produced the Clean Development Mechanism as a market-based tool under the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 agreement to combat climate change. The CDM allows industrial nations, required by Kyoto to reduce emissions of gases blamed for global warming, to comply by paying developing nations to cut their emissions instead.

Companies thousands of miles away, such as Germany's coal-burning, carbon dioxide-spewing RWE electric utility, accomplish this by buying carbon credits the U.N. issues to clean-energy projects like Xiaoxi's. The proceeds are meant to make such projects more financially feasible.

As critics point out, however, if those projects were going to be built anyway, the climate doesn't gain, but loses.

Such projects "may allow covered entities" — such as RWE — "to increase their emissions without a corresponding reduction in a developing country," the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its December review.
Wait a minute. Are you telling me that carbon credit trading may just be a wallet extraction scheme? I wonder if destroying people's houses will lower their CO2 emissions? There could be profit in that. And if the people were just killed outright that is another area with great profit potential. I wonder how many tons of carbon offset a person should be worth? It seems like getting rid of them when they are young should be worth a lot more than just getting rid of old folks.

Of course we could preemptively solve the problem by requiring parents to buy a lifetime of carbon credits before they are allowed to have children. That would put an end to global warming for sure.


Anonymous said...

Only 52 days until the Vernal Equinox, and some blessed silence....right Mikey???

J Carlton said...

I thought of writing a short story and submitting it to Baen's slush for their magazine based on the idea that we would all have a carbon footprint and would be euthanaized when we expended our footprint. Then I thought about the 20th century and dropped the idea so that I would not give anybody ideas.