The new "Elmer Gantry": Climate virtue-signaling that is profiteering con artistry

#1
C C Offline
https://eos.org/articles/chasing-carbon-unicorns

EXCERPTS: In the past few months, many governments have announced net zero carbon emission targets. [...] Many private corporations ... have also set net zero targets.

Net zero describes the goal of removing as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as is emitted. Net zero buildings, sometimes called zero-energy buildings, achieve this goal on a small scale. Net zero homes, offices, and even factories often use technologies such as heat pumps, high-efficiency windows and insulation, green roofs, and solar panels...

[...] The net zero targets outlined by NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) and corporations are much more ambitious in scale and include nature-based solutions like planting more trees to sequester carbon, developing carbon capture and storage technologies, and investing in carbon offsets (largely defined as a reduction in carbon emissions made by one party to compensate for emissions made by another).

But net zero targets described by NDCs and businesses are “deceptions” and “distractions,” according to a new report by Friends of the Earth International (FoEI). [...] “Net zero is a trick because the assumption is that you can emit carbon so long as you have some solution to sequester the carbon,” said Meena Raman, legal adviser and senior researcher at the Third World Network (TWN).

“Corporations, especially those in the Global North that are already making billions off the climate crisis, get to take cover under ‘net zero’ to continue polluting,” added Jaron Browne, organizing director at the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ).

[...] A recent, unrelated commentary published in Nature supports the same conclusions: “Sometimes the [net zero] targets do not aim to reduce emissions, but compensate for them with offsets.”

The FoEI report notes misrepresentations of science and technology, as well as the prominent presence of politics in determining net zero targets.

A foundational fallacy in net zero targets, the FoEI report claims, rests in a misrepresentation of the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle can be divided into two parts based on timescale. [...] Net zero targets conflate the two cycles, the FoEI report claims.

[...] Net zero targets rest on carbon capture and storage technologies. ... The FoEI report identifies fundamental questions about whether such technologies can actually be developed at the required scale, identifying them as “carbon unicorns, fanciful imaginings of how we might solve the climate crisis without needing to eliminate the burning of fossil fuels” while warning that there are “no saviour ecosystems around the planet, nor fairy godmother technologies, that will suck up continued fossil fuel emissions.”

[...] “Carbon offset schemes are being talked about for lands where Indigenous communities and forest-dwelling communities live,” Raman explained. “What does this mean for these peoples’ land rights?”

“There are fears that Indigenous lands will be taken over by governments or private corporations, and strong assertions are being made for [Indigenous] people to determine what will happen to their land,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz... [...] Even residents of developed nations are not immune from the effects of the carbon market...

“So the companies that are polluting our air, land, and water get to continue polluting under the cover of the [carbon] offsets they’re creating through the dispossession and displacement of Indigenous and forest-dependent communities,” Browne said.

[...] Although critical of net zero targets, the FoEI report supports “real zero” targets that entail fossil fuel phase outs and investments in ecosystems and people who are dependent on such ecosystems... (MORE - details)
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#2
Syne Offline
(Apr 7, 2021 06:22 AM)C C Wrote: “There are fears that Indigenous lands will be taken over by governments or private corporations, and strong assertions are being made for [Indigenous] people to determine what will happen to their land,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz...

Even if they want to allow polluting companies on that land? I doubt it. They only support indigenous agency that they agree with. Just like leftists do with every minority.
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#3
billvon Offline
(Apr 7, 2021 06:22 AM)C C Wrote:  “Net zero is a trick because the assumption is that you can emit carbon so long as you have some solution to sequester the carbon,” 

Well that's a silly claim.  That's like claiming spending a lot of money is bad, period.  It's bad if you don't make money to replace it.  It's fine if you are making enough money that spending that money does not harm you financially or put you in debt.

The goal is to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.  If someone emits a kiloton of CO2 and then reabsorbs the same amount somewhere else, they are meeting that goal.  In fact that's why biogas is carbon neutral - the CO2 that is emitted when it's burned is reabsorbed to make more biogas.
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#4
C C Offline
(Apr 11, 2021 05:14 AM)billvon Wrote:
(Apr 7, 2021 06:22 AM)C C Wrote: “Net zero is a trick because the assumption is that you can emit carbon so long as you have some solution to sequester the carbon,” 

Well that's a silly claim.  That's like claiming spending a lot of money is bad, period.  It's bad if you don't make money to replace it.  It's fine if you are making enough money that spending that money does not harm you financially or put you in debt.

The goal is to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.  If someone emits a kiloton of CO2 and then reabsorbs the same amount somewhere else, they are meeting that goal.  In fact that's why biogas is carbon neutral - the CO2 that is emitted when it's burned is reabsorbed to make more biogas.


Yes, but what these reports are whining about is their belief or conclusions that much of the promises and expectations about capture, storage, and recycling technology slash strategies are fanciful facades or insufficient "carbon unicorns" for one reason or another. They also want more clarity and commitment to direct C02 removals by the applicable companies and organizations themselves rather than relying on offsets fulfilled by other potentially distant agencies and obscure commitments around the world.

Whether their concerns are warranted or not is another matter. The film "Planet of the Humans" received much criticism for its related paranoia that the fossil fuel sector and big business had already hijacked "green/renewable energy" and segments of the environmental movement. (Jeff Gibbs apparently re-christening it the "eco-industrial complex" as it switched from villain to savior role.)
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#5
billvon Offline
(Apr 11, 2021 09:11 AM)C C Wrote: Yes, but what these reports are whining about is their belief or conclusions that much of the promises and expectations about capture, storage, and recycling technology slash strategies are fanciful facades or insufficient "carbon unicorns" for one reason or another. 

Agreed.  If the sequestrations never happen then it's fraud, which is a different story.  But as long as you do in fact sequester the carbon after releasing it, you are net zero.  (Most biofuels qualify for this; some (not all) of the CO2 emitted by burning the fuel is recaptured by the next crop.)
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