Posted by: carbonara | November 25, 2008

UK breaks silence with home-grown methane credits

The UK has taken a great step forward in allowing for the first time locally-generated British carbon credits to be officially reconised for carbon offsetting. Initially the credits will only be permitted for reductions in anthropogenic methane emissions arising in residential and commercial environments. The initiative will endeavour to reduce avoidable CH4 emissions through dietary influence and cultural shift away from the current common behavioural trait of unrestricted personal methane production in public spaces. It is expected that projects will follow a novel programmatic approach for carbon credits, whereby a framework programme of activities is certified and allows many repeated smaller credits to be qualified in the same mould. Project developers are confident that the UK marketplace offers an ideal environment for successfully verifying such credits to international standards because there are clear-cut additionality and sustainable development benefits. The problem has never before been tackled and it is clear that without projects of this nature, anthropogenic methane emissions will continue to rise unabated. Aside from assisting the climate change mitigation effort there will be marked local air quality improvements in line with other recent initiatives such as the London Low Emission Zone. Good quality carbon credits must have measurable social sustainable development benefits and this is demonstrably the case here, with reduced marital strain topping the list thanks to a decrease or even total abolition of nocturnal horizontal captive methane emission.

The progress has been made possible thanks to a recent change of tack by the UK Government on domestic offsets. The UK’s tough reduction target from the Kyoto Protocol has hitherto led the Government to nationalise all UK carbon savings as contributing to reductions in the national inventory. A statement from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, incoporating the UK’s Designated National Authority for the UNFCCC, said that although the UK national greenhouse gas accounting system has in the past made it near impossible to generate credible UK-based offsets, they see the methane problem as a pivotal issue worthy of a change of direction. “We appreciate how long the nation has suffered from this scourge of anthropogenic methane production in commercial and residential environments and until now have been at a loss on how to deal with it. The carbon market provides just such a solution and we are proud to be at the forefront of this programmatic approach. There is no better way to demonstrate the new DECC’s commitment to forward thinking than to address this all-pervading British problem”.

The proposals have not met with universal approval. A Tory spokesperson retorted, “The Government’s stance in this area is simply not credible; a market mechanism cannot be relied upon to solve an environmental externality of such pressing national and international concern. To be frank, this stinks. We in the Conservative party have a long history of first-hand experience in this area and are pushing for an outright ban on methane generation in confined public spaces. Prolific methane producers can take advantage of the recent increase in outdoor smoking areas to enjoy their pleasures out of doors. Furthermore the concentration of methane in these areas will serve as localised air-heating, thereby reducing the need for patio heaters and lowering consumption of fossil methane. As usual with environment measures, our party Leader will be leading the way with his behind.”

The Government is calling for volunteers from around the country to act as methane monitors in this trend-setting wind-breaking initiative. Elements of the dietary campaign will involve a verifiable quantitative shift in the bean sector, beginning with a switch from the baked to the green. In response to this suggestion, a large bean producer boasting a little more than 56 varieties has pulled out of a trial product carbon-labelling programme and has started arguing strongly against full life-cycle emissions labelling for consumable products, citing “questionable bias in the life-cycle approach”. This marks a stark turn-around in CSR policy for the company after their recent strong commitments to encourage climate change mitigation across all business areas. A spokesperson for the Brick Lane Restaurants Association was unavailable for comment.

As we move into this time of festive seasonal vegetables, might you be in a position to make hard-hitting sacrifices in this area to help the climate change effort? Your local methane capture office will be only too happy to hear you.

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