In the Doghouse

It is close to 3pm on the day before Thanksgiving…and I just had time to review some news sites.

A sweet lady in England is spending over $300k on a doghouse….

doghouse-details

Thought you might like to look at it with your Internet bowser…oops, browser.

Have a ‘howl’ of a Thanksgiving!

REDD and Forest Protection

From an article in the Guardian:

International proposals to protect forests as a way of tackling climate change could displace millions of indigenous people and fail to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, environmentalists warn.

In a report to be published on Thursday, Friends of the Earth International (FOE) will argue that current plans to slow the decline of forests by making rich countries pay for the protection of forests in tropical regions are not fit for purpose, as they are open to abuse by corrupt politicians or illegal logging companies in the parts of the world where the money will end up.

Forests lock up a significant amount of carbon and cutting them down is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, currently accounting for around 20% of the world’s total.

Deforestation also threatens biodiversity and the livelihoods of more than 60 million indigenous people who are entirely dependent upon forests.

Working out a way to protect forests will be one of the key issues for next week’s UN climate change summit in Poznan, Poland, which marks the start of global negotiations to replace the Kyoto protocol after 2012. Government representatives at the meeting will consider adopting the “Redd” mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries, which is based on the idea that richer countries could offset their emissions by paying to maintain forests in tropical regions.

Local New England Government

I live in a small Massachusetts community with a Board of Selectmen and the usual small town governmental structure…planning, conservation, health and safety, etc. It has been a rural community with significant small farmland, but in the past 20 years has seen a lot of development. As with many small towns in New England, there are a few key residential developers…and these few often are on town committees.

Last night my wife and I watched two hours of a conservation committee meeting where one of these key developers needed a special permit on a retention pond that was build BEFORE he had permission….in a subdivision that was built BEFORE it was fully permitted. It was perhaps the most painful two hours of television I have ever watched.

Our town government is dysfunctional. We have a Chairman of Selectmen who is combative…and abrasive. He is also a poor communicator. Some folks tried to recall him, but the recall was defeated…so now we have bitter factions. The conservation committee was constantly tangled in procedural issues…eventually one woman member stomped out mid-sentence. One of our friends on the committee is a local respected attorney… and even he was frustrated to the point of nervously shuffling papers.

The developer kept running up to the microphone to make impassioned appeals and objections, his small and obedient lawyer right at his side each time. His primary adversary was the Chairman of Selectmen…and they are archrivals. Mr. Selectman also kept running up to the microphone to make impassioned objections.

The committee has spent $40,000 getting expert counsel…all of which has been paid by the developer (do not shed tears for the developer…his little operation probably bought the land for less than $500k and will make about $1M…even with the $40k). None of the expert counsel seemed to provide all that much light on the issue.

It was a zoo! By the end of two hours both my wife and I had indigestion.

Voluntary Carbon Standard

From the Report:

This document provides guidance and additional context for users of the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), the VCS Program Guidelines, and the VCS Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) project tools. At the beginning of each section, relevant content from the respective VCS document (VCS, the VCS Program Guidelines, and the VCS AFOLU project tools) is presented verbatim in a box after which the relevant guidance is provided. In case of any discrepancies between: a.) this guidance document; and b.) the most up-to-date versions of the VCS, the VCS Program Guidelines, or VCS AFOLU project tools documents, information contained in the documents mentioned under b.) is considered binding. This document should be cited as: “Voluntary Carbon Standard – Guidance for Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use Projects (VCS 2007.1, 2008).” VCS Association. Available at: www.v-c-s.org

The rules contained in the VCS 2007.1, VCS Program Guidelines, and the AFOLU project tools have been developed to enable high-quality AFOLU projects from around the world to generate Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) that are credible, robust, permanent and fungible. The result of an intensive eighteen-month development process managed by the VCS AFOLU Advisory Group and overseen by the VCS Steering Committee, these guidelines employ innovative and best-practice thinking in order to create standards that are at once rigorous and workable. After considerable public input, working groups composed of leading experts in each of the four AFOLU project categories authored this guidance and the associated AFOLU text found in the VCS, Program Guidelines and Tools. More than twenty independent reviewers, including preeminent risk experts, investors, NGO representatives and project developers supported these efforts and provided detailed feedback during the evolution of these AFOLU rules and guidance.

For the entire Report:

http://ecosystemmarketplace.com/documents/cms_documents/Guidance%20for%20AFOLU%20Projects.pdf

And you thought YOUR finances were leveraged

The Bush Administration has borrowed more money in the last eight years than all U.S. Presidents combined have borrowed in the previous 219 years. It also borrowed more money from foreigners that all previous Presidents combined.

The U.S.audit will be released on December 15th. It is the Financial Report of the U.S. Government, issued by the U.S. Treasury and signed by Secretary Henry Paulson. It is the only official government document that uses audited, accrual accounting to describe America’s financial position.

An interesting article on the U.S financial ‘siteation’.

Remaking the Office

We had some water leakage issues a few weeks ago and have taken the opportunity to restore our office after ten years of constant use. The process has us deciding what is useful and what is not…also, what to store as historically relevant and what to recycle, trash, use as firestarter, etc.

One of the interesting discoveries was the transcript from the meeting we had on April 2, 2002 to ‘design’ a new venture…what would become EcoAsset Markets, Inc. It was a helpful and resourceful group of entrepreneurs – folks from SAIC, E2Value Real Estate Appraisal, TNC, FirstSearch Environmental Data, an investment advisor, etc. Ten of us ‘thought’ of EAM by the time we had lunch…it was exciting.

Building a new venture in a nascient economy is a bit like remaking the office…sorting through all that has come before to determine what has value to the future. As in the office, we’ve tried to respect and continue to use what is practical and productive…even if it is old. That includes ‘ancient’ software that is ten years old as well as a dictionary stand that is three hundred years old (I still prefer using the paper dictionary to spellcheck…somehow it connects me to the ‘root’ of the word).

This is the first opportunity for lengthy work at the computer since last Wednesday. I notice in the financial news that GM is running out of cash. The auto industry is ‘product bankrupt’ and looks to be approaching financial bankrupcy. They could use an office remake!