CC Manual – Project 7

TM Arun Thomas  |  The New Hunters

How did the recession of 2008 happen?  The recession was caused by the greed of banking and  financial institutions. Where they started betting billions of dollars on a commodity as innocuous as a home loan. So what happens when these same institutions start betting on, Nature?


For many years now, the world has shown both its concern and its indifference, to endangered species. But now, the concern is being turned into a commodity, How? Good question. Now let’s say there’s the natural habitat for an endangered pink fly somewhere . A bank comes and buys a part of this habitat. This area itself is called a mitigation bank. And then sits in wait. A company then wants to set up a factory in this very area. But some EPA tells it that it will damage the endangered species. This is where the mitigation bank comes in as a messiah. The company buys pink fly credit to offset the damage. Deed done. The company gets the permit to build. How about that for logic? Kill this tiger as long as you can feed this tiger. So, you can buy fly credits, grasshopper credits, salmon credits, lizard credits, anything you want. In fact, if you go a site called speciesbanking.com, you can see these credits listed meticulously.


But the problem with this extinction jazz is that it’s limited. And judging by how these creatures have gone and got themselves endangered, they aren’t very dependable. So the big boys in finance would need something more ubiquitous, more omnipresent. Trees. The Kyoto Protocol in 2008 set up a limit on the carbon emissions. Fair enough. But then they said you can emit more if you offset it by buying carbon credits. Sounds familiar? What are carbon credits? Carbon credits are actually just trees. One tree usually has around 100 KGs of Carbon in it. And 1 ton of Carbon from trees is equal to one carbon credit. So you want to emit 1 ton above your quota, buy 10 trees. You want to go 10 Tons above your quota, buy a 100 trees. But if you want to go a million tons above your quota; buy a forest. And this is what companies worldwide are doing right now. Vale is buying up parts of the Amazon forest in Brazil, GM is buying forests in Uganda, and Malua Finance is buying up forests in Borneo. Borneo incidentally, is the habitat for orangutans. 

 

So one’d say, this’s fine isn’t it? You emit more carbon, but you also preserve forests. But these are financial entities. If a commodity does not make money, it ceases to mean anything. So what they do with the forests they own is they chop it down and replace the existing trees with a single kind of tree. Why? For that, we need to know how these carbon credits are calculated. Quite simply, they are calculated using a measuring tape, a calculator and a pen. People go out in the forest, measure the height and diameter of a tree, feed it in a formula and voila! And these people who go out and do these calculations are actually called Carbon hunters. So now, we need a forest that can be measured easily, and one that has more trees per sq m. The answer, is to replace the existing trees and plant a single kind of tree which occupies less space and grows very tall.  Eucalyptus and palm trees. And what these eucalyptus trees do is they suck out all the moisture from the soil. For soil to sustain life, it needs to be porous and filled with nutrients. But the soil around eucalyptus trees becomes dry and barren. In about 30 years the entire area will become infertile. But by then, a lot of companies would have made billions of dollars from their carbon credits.

 
Isn’t this fun? In the name of compensating for damage, go out and make money by damaging something else. Killing nature, and making a killing out of it. These global entities are the new hunters. They are hunting nature and they are hunting you down, one unit of oxygen at a time. The way out? That we have responsible world leaders take adequate and urgent measures to make wholesale changes right at the top. Otherwise, run for your life.

 

Merry Christmas.
 

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