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Author Topic: Buy CO2 with Bitcoins  (Read 2807 times)
BioMike
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December 16, 2010, 01:07:42 PM
 #1

Yes, carbon dioxide. The stuff that you breath out and is said to be one of the causes of global warming.
I haven't set up a website yet, but will if people are interested in this.

Of course you won't be buying CO2 gas (or dry ice), but CO2 emission rights (through a Dutch NPO). Strong polluting industries get/buy these rights from governments to do CO2 emissions, if they pollute more they have to buy more rights, if they pollute less, they are allowed to sell them. This drives the price of one emission right. Within a time span a limited amount of rights are released to the market, thus regulating the amount of emission.

That's all nice, but individuals are normally not involved by this whole market. There are however a few companies/NPOs that buy these rights for individuals and let them expire (1 certificate guarantees that 1 tonne of CO2 is prevented from being released into the atmosphere). These expired rights can't be traded any more (The Dutch Emission Authority that regulates this market releases expiration certificates. The NPO sends it to the buyer of the expired rights).

So, why would you buy these rights:
1) By reducing your energy usage you can reduce your CO2 emissions, but there is a limit. With this system you can take out the remaining amount.
2) Due to the market, prices might go up a bit. Giving strong polluters incentives to invest in less polluting technologies.
3) Direct result of less CO2 in the air.

Costs are 20,60 euros (around 80btc) per right plus 10 euros (around 40 btc) transaction costs (independent of the amount of rights bought).
I will of course accept any amount and just add everything up.

The idea is to setup a site where people can buy the rights. I'll transfer them to euros when we have enough to buy a few rights (transaction costs are quite high for one single right). The expiration certificates will be published on that site.

Are people interested in this idea? Feedback, suggestion, questions are welcome.
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grondilu
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December 16, 2010, 01:11:34 PM
 #2

You're serious ??
BioMike
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December 16, 2010, 01:13:24 PM
 #3

Yes, very. (I know it sounds silly).

Here is some more info:
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Carbon_retirement
http://www.carbonretirement.com/ <= UK company that does the same.
grondilu
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December 16, 2010, 01:23:16 PM
 #4

Yes, very. (I know it sounds silly).

Here is some more info:
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Carbon_retirement
http://www.carbonretirement.com/ <= UK company that does the same.

Dude, there is just no way I'd buy artificial goods or rights created by governments out of nothing but lawer's gibberish.
ribuck
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December 16, 2010, 01:23:52 PM
 #5

If people let these certificates expire, won't the authorities just increase the issue of allowances in the future? Government schemes always seem to be redesigned or tweaked every few years anyway.

It's a cute idea though. Kind of like buying up and burning BTC.
caveden
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December 16, 2010, 01:31:37 PM
 #6

Penn & Teller have an episode on this carbon credit bullshit: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1325805851224851246#

It's good, I recommend it (as all BS episodes actually)

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BioMike
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December 16, 2010, 01:59:36 PM
 #7

If people let these certificates expire, won't the authorities just increase the issue of allowances in the future? Government schemes always seem to be redesigned or tweaked every few years anyway.

The last link has this to say on this:

Quote
When you cancel allowances won’t the EC just create more?

No. The cap in the EU ETS is fixed and has been fixed since the start of the scheme in 2005. The number of permits has decreased annually since then and will continue to do so until at least 2020. The target is “to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions of the Community by at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 30% provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions” (Directive 2009/29/EC page 1, (3)), which the EU will achieve through an annual decrease in the number of allowances by 1.74% (Directive 2009/29/EC page 2, (13)).

In the current phase (Phase II), the number of allowances is determined by individual member states and monitored by the EC in line with various criteria (see (Cool here). With the introduction of Phase III in 2012, the EC will manage the cap and national allocations centrally.

Yes, American people might be sceptical against this system (and "Global Warming", I agree that's a hoax). I've seen people spend money on solutions that are having even a more questionable impact on the result (planting trees in 3rd world countries, where they first had to burn down some rain forest to plant the trees). It should not be about buying off your bad feeling towards the pollution you cause, but improving the environment where you (and the generations after you) live in.

Giving companies incentives to invest in cleaner technologies is good for economies and the environment, instead of dumping waste cheaply and keep the saved money in some shareholders pocket.
Timo Y
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December 16, 2010, 02:10:59 PM
 #8

There is some validity in the idea of trading emission rights.

The way it's done at the moment is corrupt though.

Somebody at some point has to start with emission rights and that somebody at the moment is a goverment.

Why should any government be given emission rights for free, only to sell them on? The atmosphere is a global good and no single government has regisdiction over the whole planet.

Also, a government can arbitrarily create more emission rights according to subjective criteria that can easily be manipulated by voters, lobbyists, dictators, etc, for reasons other than protecting the planet.

Finally, lifetimes of governments are finite and global warming is a long term problem (100 year span).

I am not buying any emission rights from any government, that's for sure.
 
If the premise is that global warming harms ALL human beings more or less equally, and that every human being is equally responsible for reducing his/her CO2 emissions, then the sensible approach would be this:

Every person on the planet gets a certain (equal) volume of emission rights by default. The total is determined by consensus, much like the 21M figure in the Bitcion community.

Individuals can then sell their emisions rights to other individuals or corporations in their web of trust. The ripple monetary system would be perfect for this.

If someone breaches the "contract" and emits more CO2 than they have the rights for, this would mean social pressure from friends who have bought rights from them for BTC.

That kind of scheme I would consider spending my BTC on.

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ribuck
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December 16, 2010, 02:16:11 PM
 #9

... a government can arbitrarily create more emmission rights according to subjective criteria that can easily be manipulated by voters, lobbyists, dictators, etc, for reasons other than protecting the planet.

Indeed. For example see:
"Doubt over integrity of half of offset credits ever produced"
BioMike
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December 16, 2010, 02:30:45 PM
 #10

Yeah, I'm not saying the current system is ideal. But the new round is already better then the first round (this being based on the EU trade system, people from the EU might be more interested in this then non-EU people.

Also, agreements were made between countries (kyoto, millennium goals, etc.) about what should be achieved by when.
Imho, these countries represent the people that live in the country. And like you said, someone has to coordinate it. But if we have to wait for someone to step up and convince everybody to participate with his/her scheme, it will not be happening.

... a government can arbitrarily create more emmission rights according to subjective criteria that can easily be manipulated by voters, lobbyists, dictators, etc, for reasons other than protecting the planet.

Indeed. For example see:
"Doubt over integrity of half of offset credits ever produced"

Yes, and methane is also a bad greenhouse gas (like a lot of others). The system is fairly new, so I'm not surprised that there are loopholes.
caveden
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December 16, 2010, 02:34:59 PM
 #11

Also, agreements were made between countries (kyoto, millennium goals, etc.) about what should be achieved by when.

Agreements?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-us-manipulated-climate-accord

Imho, these countries represent the people that live in the country.

I don't authorize any government to represent me (and I happen to live in a country, so...)

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BioMike
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December 16, 2010, 02:52:23 PM
 #12

Also, agreements were made between countries (kyoto, millennium goals, etc.) about what should be achieved by when.

Agreements?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-us-manipulated-climate-accord


I always wonder why the USA shows up their face at these conventions. They never take their responsibility (as one of the largest polluters) and are only there to protect their own market (at any cost apparently).
grondilu
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December 16, 2010, 11:31:02 PM
 #13

As a human being, and more generaly as breathing animal, I sometimes have to inhale oxygen, turn it into carbon dioxyde and then expell it.  So I do emit CO2 sometimes to times.

Should I have to buy CO2 rights in order to be allowed to do so ?
bober182
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December 17, 2010, 12:28:24 AM
 #14

You don't and neither do CEOs there companies need it during production when they billow black smoke into the air.

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FreeMoney
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December 17, 2010, 02:16:39 AM
 #15

Tell me if I have this right.

Some countries require you to buy a permit to release CO2 into the air. They pick how many to issue. I imagine it varies over time, probably increasing year by year. When you buy a permit you drive up demand for permits. Won't this simply allow the country to increase the supply without the price dropping? Do you need to have the assumption that people in government don't want to increase the revenue of government in order for this to decrease carbon output? And then, even if they hold steady on the total amount then the price of producing goes up and production moves to other countries that don't have this system.

If you care about emissions I think the effective path is to lower your demand for things that require emissions. This will reduce the profitability of these companies and there will be marginally fewer of them.

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December 17, 2010, 02:17:53 AM
 #16

You don't and neither do CEOs there companies need it during production when they billow black smoke into the air.

CO2 is black? I don't think so. They must need other permits for the black stuff, can we buy those here too?

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bober182
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December 17, 2010, 02:19:42 AM
 #17

That was a joke but I think there are other emission permits for lead and more deadly chemicals.

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Timo Y
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December 17, 2010, 08:59:19 AM
 #18

As a human being, and more generaly as breathing animal, I sometimes have to inhale oxygen, turn it into carbon dioxyde and then expell it.  So I do emit CO2 sometimes to times.

Should I have to buy CO2 rights in order to be allowed to do so ?


You already have to buy rights in order to be allowed to shit.  Or at least you have to buy some of you own land if you want to shit for free. 

So why not the same for breathing?

The amount of CO2 produced by breathing is so small though that it would proabably only cost a few cents a year.  Hardly any one would even notice if you refused to pay this, let alone care.

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BioMike
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December 17, 2010, 09:28:03 AM
 #19

No, you don't need to buy rights for your self (although you can now if the emissions bother you, that's the whole point of this topic).
The whole system was setup as countermeasure and way to reduce the amount of emissions polluting industries by putting a fixed limit down.

The companies can get fines if they don't follow the system (so, there should be no incentive for the government to generate more rights, there would also be easier ways for governments to generate money from pollution if it was only for the income), but you and me are not big polluters, so you and me are normally not involved in this system. The rights have a live time of some years, then new and less rights are created for the next couple of years. During those years companies do their emissions, but have also keep them in balance with the rights they have (instead of receiving fines).

I think many NGOs are reasonable happy that this system is in place. If some government started producing more rights, they would notice and publish it into the media. This would cause people to not thrust the system any more and the government would have failed with the goal for setting this whole system up (and then people would start complaining why this system caused so much money).

I can't help that some people don't thrust their government, if that's your problem, this system would be the least of your concerns. I never had the intention to start a political discussion with this topic, just to know if people are interested in this idea. Apparently not. I've got better things to waste my time on, so I'll step out of this discussion. Feel free to continue.
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December 19, 2010, 07:10:24 AM
 #20

So, why would you buy these rights:
1) By reducing your energy usage you can reduce your CO2 emissions, but there is a limit. With this system you can take out the remaining amount.
2) Due to the market, prices might go up a bit. Giving strong polluters incentives to invest in less polluting technologies.
3) Direct result of less CO2 in the air.
What about selling the rights off for a profit?

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