STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
New Petition Demands that UN Offset Its Carbon Footprint
By Staff News & Analysis - March 02, 2013

United Nations chief urged to offset UN's carbon footprint … The United Nations' portal on Climate Change is impressive … The problem? Neither the United Nations nor its 38 Partners on Climate Change practice what they preach. – EcoGreen editorial

Dominant Social Theme: The United Nations is at the forefront of green environmental responsibility and is an inspiration to us all.

Free-Market Analysis: The United Nations has come under attack for not practicing what it preaches. The EcoGreen editorial above, puts it succinctly as follows:

It is not unreasonable to ask the UN to use its own mechanism to offset its emissions. Such bold action would lend the UN a credibility based on facts and deeds, as well as help restore faith in the very mechanism the UN is promoting to assist in securing the future of clean energy investment.

The UN and other pro-Green facilities have been struggling to introduce carbon-trading around the world. Once appropriate laws are passed restricting the amount of carbon that one can produce, a series of trading bourses would be set up around the world that would allow someone to buy or sell "carbon credits."

In other words, if someone wanted to produce more carbon than allowed, he or she would purchase an allowance of credits and legally produce additional carbon as part of a production process. If someone reduced the amount of carbon that was being generated within a specific context, he or she could sell carbon credits on a mart and take a profit for that reduction.

The article puts it this way:

In 2005, the United Nations launched the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as a way of allowing emission reduction projects (such as renewable energy) in developing countries to earn tradable carbon credits, called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). Each of these CERs is equivalent to one ton of CO2 avoided through the project's technology. These can be bought by industrialized countries to pay down what could be seen as their carbon debt: the quantity of harmful greenhouse gases they are emitting over and above their targets. Under this scheme, a factory in Germany can meet its emissions targets by funding a waste to energy project in China – allowing it time to transition to cleaner production methods without retiring operational plant, firing staff or facing bankruptcy …

However, the system is grinding to a halt because an imbalance in supply and demand is causing the price of CERs to plummet. This brings me back to my original point – that of the UN, to put it charitably, being inconsistent. Yes, it is working hard to improve its resource efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint, but unless it ceases to exist altogether, it is not physically possible to reduce its emissions to zero.

… Ahead of last year's Rio+20 summit (where the UN chose to merely offset the travel of its own staff, a negligible amount – less than 1% – of its total emissions), Ban Ki-moon said, "The United Nations has played a key role in elevating the profile of climate change on the international agenda, and continues to support Member States in their efforts to reduce emissions, strengthen adaptation and respond to this immense global challenge. Such work has a natural complement in our in-house drive to reduce the UN's own carbon footprint. What we demand of others, we must do ourselves."

Wise words indeed, Mr. Ban. It's time to live by them.

A petition has been set up requesting that the UN participate in facilities that it has been instrumental in creating. Those who are concerned can sign their name to the on-line petition which reads, in part, as follows:

Dear Mr Ban Ki-moon,

Thank you for your commitment to tackle global climate change, the initiatives reported on www.greeningtheblue.org including the transparent reporting of the UN's emissions, and the hard work of your staff in the UNFCCC Secretariat …

As a sign of the UN's commitment to tackling climate change, I now call on you to show leadership and take urgent action to reduce emissions as far as possible and then cancel CERs equal to the remaining greenhouse gas emissions arising from the activities of the entire UN System of Organisations.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

One can sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/ban-ki-moon-reduce-and-compensate-all-the-un-s-greenhouse-gas-emissions

It is a matter of fact that there is considerable controversy over whether the world is warming or not. There is even more controversy over whether the miniscule amount of carbon contributed by human activities to the atmosphere has any effect on the warming that may or may not be occurring.

Nonetheless, it is the ambition of the UN and of the Money Power that sits behind it to monetize "carbon pollution." Within this context, it seems perfectly logical to request that UN officials support their own green efforts by participating in the commerce they are attempting to inflict on everyone else.

After Thoughts

We doubt that the UN will do what it demands of others. Those at the top of the UN are skilled at extracting revenue from various nation-states but far less amenable to paying into the structures that it promotes for others.

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