Cellar Door Visits

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Felton Road
23rd May
A Flower Day becoming a Leaf Day at 1500
A Flower Day becoming a Leaf Day at 1500

What price carbon?

One of the first realisations that most companies face if they are seeking that nirvana: true carbon neutral, is that there will come a point where further cuts and innovations just won’t have the desired effect. You first pick the low hanging fruit, then you tackle the trickier stuff, at each stage it gets harder and more expensive, then, finally, you get to a point where the stuff left just can’t be eliminated. Assuming here that we are talking about proper auditing (ISO14064, scopes 1,2 and 3) independently certified, and not some random ‘we’ll declare you carbon neutral’ outfit, the minefield of carbon offsets will be most people’s ultimate solution. But, even those who claim the highest probity ultimately fail the test as so many recent investigations have shown. Offsets normally take years to deliver the goods, then have to protect them for decades, even centuries to come. Since so many are either located in developing and often unstable areas, or subject to the greed of corporate rush to growth, such long term security is effectively undeliverable. Some offsets can work, but most resemble the old days of priests selling indulgences to sinners.

To do it properly, with security, first you need a location which has security of government process and legislative backup. Then you probably need to buy land: land that is currently in a carbon hungry use. Then you plant trees and look after them. Most commercial forestry is dubious: it may sequester carbon in trees, and if they go to such areas as the construction industry, as opposed to toilet paper, then you might get up to a century out of some of that wood, though it will only be a small percentage of the carbon captured. Toilet paper lasts… well, you can answer that one! Ideally, you need to create a reserve of native forest, protected by ownership in trust and with a land usage protected in perpetuity by legislation. That still takes a decade or so before much carbon is sequestered, but it is heading the right way. It is also seriously expensive. A budget of around $5000 will be needed for each tonne to be trimmed from the annual total. Compare that with $10-$50 a tonne that the offset pedlar’s quote. You quickly realise that most of that market is just snake oil. Over the next thirty years or so, that $5,000 amortises to $250 a tonne, but the payment is up front, so plays hell with cashflow. 

But you’d gain a lovely place to go for a walk! 

Back Read more
Felton Road
23rd May
A Flower Day becoming a Leaf Day at 1500
A Flower Day becoming a Leaf Day at 1500

What price carbon?

One of the first realisations that most companies face if they are seeking that nirvana: true carbon neutral, is that there will come a point where further cuts and innovations just won’t have the desired effect. You first pick the low hanging fruit, then you tackle the trickier stuff, at each stage it gets harder and more expensive, then, finally, you get to a point where the stuff left just can’t be eliminated. Assuming here that we are talking about proper auditing (ISO14064, scopes 1,2 and 3) independently certified, and not some random ‘we’ll declare you carbon neutral’ outfit, the minefield of carbon offsets will be most people’s ultimate solution. But, even those who claim the highest probity ultimately fail the test as so many recent investigations have shown. Offsets normally take years to deliver the goods, then have to protect them for decades, even centuries to come. Since so many are either located in developing and often unstable areas, or subject to the greed of corporate rush to growth, such long term security is effectively undeliverable. Some offsets can work, but most resemble the old days of priests selling indulgences to sinners.

To do it properly, with security, first you need a location which has security of government process and legislative backup. Then you probably need to buy land: land that is currently in a carbon hungry use. Then you plant trees and look after them. Most commercial forestry is dubious: it may sequester carbon in trees, and if they go to such areas as the construction industry, as opposed to toilet paper, then you might get up to a century out of some of that wood, though it will only be a small percentage of the carbon captured. Toilet paper lasts… well, you can answer that one! Ideally, you need to create a reserve of native forest, protected by ownership in trust and with a land usage protected in perpetuity by legislation. That still takes a decade or so before much carbon is sequestered, but it is heading the right way. It is also seriously expensive. A budget of around $5000 will be needed for each tonne to be trimmed from the annual total. Compare that with $10-$50 a tonne that the offset pedlar’s quote. You quickly realise that most of that market is just snake oil. Over the next thirty years or so, that $5,000 amortises to $250 a tonne, but the payment is up front, so plays hell with cashflow. 

But you’d gain a lovely place to go for a walk! 

Back Read more