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Aggregating Energy Since 2006

Greenwashing or Green driving?

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BP has announced a pollution trading program in the UK with the goal of making drivers carbon-neutral. The idea was unveiled at targetneutral.com. Drivers determine how much CO2 they are emitting and then sending funds to green energy projects. They currently only have four projects that will receive funding, though.

  • A biomass power plant in Bihar, India. This is reducing CO2 emissions by 4,800 tonnes per year.
  • Biomass boilers at a chemical manufacturing plant in Himachal Pradesh, India. This reduces CO2 by 3,150 tonnes per year.
  • A wind turbine at Chitradurga, India installed September, 2005. This reduces CO2 by 1,260 tonnes per year.
  • A biomass boiler at a chemical manufacturing plant in Maharashtra, India. This reduces CO2 by 4,783 tonnes per year.
  • By their calculations they act together to reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to that of about 3,500 cars.

    There are plenty of skeptical comments found in the NY Times article above. I think that it’s an interesting approach but one that is ultimately going to have nearly zero impact. This coupled with the timing of the release so close to the pipeline problems makes me think that there is likely something behind the greenwashing charges.

    The voluntary aspect of the program is going to keep participation extremely low and only among those conscientious people who are already doing a lot to reduce their CO2 emissions. At the targetneutral.com website they claim that the average driver would only need to contribute about £20 a year (~$38). For the emissions averted by the above projects that comes to about £70,000 (~$132,000) per year. A very marginal amount to be spread across four capital intensive projects. Is the prospect of this potential income to the projects going to spur additional projects and expansion of the program? I'm skeptical.