Can I call it CEL?

Carbon too cheap to sell!!

Well I read and digested the preceding discussion and tried to extract its pointers, its drift. There were a number of strands, as Javier de Vicente remarked, and an air of confusion but the essence was straightforward, I eventually decided. So I took the plunge:

OK, OK, that was fun and interesting. I think the one factor shared by all is an unease with the present balance. Me, I reckon there’s an almost institutionalized sidelining of forestry projects under the current range of carbon based funding mechanisms. Only China seems able to re-forest “profitably” and with any surety. I guess once you’ve voluntarily sponsored a new woodland or a Ugandan village forest gardening project any more gets repetitive and will no longer drive consumer loyalty so “voluntary” seeks other outlets.

Like most of you I am frustrated by this state of affairs. If the price of carbon increases in five to ten years then how much of that new funding will be directed into landscape regeneration projects. If the funding generated is greater then green energy schemes and efficient tortilla griddles for Mexican small traders will still outcompete re-forestry and even avoided deforestation projects by providing quicker returns for your credits.

So I’m sold on the need for an additional route to drive reforestation and have thought along the lines you talk of Michael in a land user tax. In the end I prefer a resource extraction or, even better and keeping things with carbon, a carbon extraction levy, CEL..

My approach, then, is that the present cap and trade can over time encourage greater and greater efficiency in the use of the derived carbon products and a move to green energy provision. This is great but has little in the way of a “Quid pro quo” to it. We have to move to put back that which we are removing and repair that which we are damaging. A CEL could generate deliberate designated funding for this.

Climate change is clearly a global issue – no country is immune and all are guilty to a greater or lesser extent of accelerating it. Equally, though, landscape degradation and decline are wholly global – biodiversity loss and habitat decline lead to our collective ecological buffering being severely stressed. There could clearly reach ecological “Tipping Points” just as are feared for ice melt – both need urgent action and not debate for another ten years.

Could the CEL grow?


1 – I figured a land user tax to have too many drawbacks – hard to collect, too close to existing taxations, too local in operation, hard to assess any payback etc, etc. CEL is a Global system.

2 – I agree about the fuzziness of Annex1 versus non-Annex1 and the need to broaden out definitions here. The problem is, as said, global and the fewer obstacles exist to progress in its correction, the better.

3 – The Edinburgh GPS-etc Group I met at the Carbon Show 2011  were profoundly confident of their ability to provide accurate, global baselining pretty much already. Later corroborated by Australian group, as previously covered here and on the Facebook 5TT site.

4 – Additionality is an unfortunate problem and obligatory restocking or pre-funded national planting plans do not need to attract extra financial backing.



About greencentre

Non grant supported hence independent scientist, green activist, writer and forest planter.
This entry was posted in Additionality, Carbon market, Development issues, Ecology, Green politics,, New forests and woodland, REDD+. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Can I call it CEL?

  1. greencentre says:

    An hour or so later on Linkdin:

    Interesting point, Chris. CEL would be equivalent to a worldwide upstream carbon levy, including for fossil fuels. This is an idea dismissed in the Kyoto negotiations, which installed a downstream system, but still extremely reasonable. It might even be acceptable to petrol-exporting countries, because it would treat all carbon on equal footing. On the forestry side, it would mean full carbon accounting, which is technically challenging. A quick fix could be to compensate temporary emissions (biomass sources) with temporary credits (from A/R).
    In Brazil, and for other purposes, this has been existing for years, and it is called “Reposicao Florestal”. Pizzerias and steak houses that use fuelwood have to pay a certain fee per cubic meter for reforestation.
    So you would end up with a fossil carbon market, which would slowly be regulated down and a biomass sector that would only be allowed to burn as much as is being restored. The only sector not involved in carbon trading would be renewable energies from wind, sunlight, water and waste.
    I have been giving up inputting this type of systemic new idea, as long as Kyoto was the game in town. As we see it eroding, perhaps this is a good time to start discussing principles again…

    Posted by Michael Dutschke

  2. greencentre says:

    Thanks, Michael, and I so agree with your last point.

    From the top, though:
    1 – No way do I see this as a replacement for the existing carbon economy as Cap and Trade aims to reduce use and maximise efficiency of use. That should continue.
    2 – If it’s applied evenly then I see every reason to agree with your assertion that it “might be acceptable to petrol exporting countries”. Also gas and coal exporting countries, I would hope.
    3 – Already no tree should be harvested without its replacement which should require the planting of many more than just one sapling.
    4 – How to draw nuclear energy into the equation I am not sure – but I imagine we could!

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