The insufficiency of Brand-Management in GREEN Financing

In 2007 EIB emitted the first “Green Awareness Bond“ and has meanwhile placed €18bln. The UK however could benefit from its access to a global pool of issuers and investors delivering a track-record of green financing and became an ideal launch pad for the globalization of green finance, reaching out from Norway over the Gulf States and Hong Kong to Fidschis now, all doing „Green Bond“ issuing to meet the needs of 21st century.

But actually whose needs are that? The “Green Label“ would suggest something good for the Planet. But the only certainty are Profits for the bond traders and promised potential returns to the investors. In order to fulfill those, many Public Private Partnership [PPP] schemes have been introduced to charge ordinary People uncovered cost-overruns of so called “Green Solutions“. They come under different names, like Feed-in Tariffs, Extended Producer Responsibility charges to industry pricing it into consumer products, steering taxes and municipal charges, etc.

Where there is a business to be made, many profiteers wannabe in. So the capital available for “Green Financing“ has ever since been available in excess of actual executable projects. Often diminished by regulatory or administrative constraints and particular difficult for anything new. So the question is, how could “Green Financing“ ever build a better world, if only projects doing more of the same can become eligible? Does anyone really think, we already have the perfect solutions out in the field? Think about how many of these so called solutions depend on consumers paying extra to enable the dividends to investors!

Werner Boote unveils a lot of such “Green Lies“ in his subject matter film. They can pertain in the higher per capita income countries because ecologically populistic governments keep feeding the benefit-chains from ordinary people’s money with the help of various NGOs supporting or using the media to keep consumer‘s do-gooder motivation up. If the results would be effective we could at least recognize “Green Labels“ as implying branding – namely delivering the trade-marks’ instigating promise. Wherever this complies, “Green“ could be seen as a kind of “Luxury“ label for which certain consumers are indeed prepared to overpay functionality. But by choice only!

So how effective is Renewable Electricity in a grid that needs to use solid or heavy fuel calorific power plants for back-up? The higher the renewable share of supply, the more idling mode operation would have to be accounted against calculated renewables’ CO₂ savings. Biomass constituting of Carbon & Water is widely promoted to be burned what‘s called Carbon neutrally, although we all know that Water doesn‘t really burn well. At the same time we feed refineries which basically platform Hydrogen-Carbon compounds to higher Hydrogen potencies, with crude oil, starting from just half the Hydrogen-to-Carbon ratio biomass has. Missing Hydrogen needs to be reformed by splitting water over Carbon into Hydrogen and CO₂. 60% for oil and 30% for biomass only.

However energetic use of biomass should not be a priority. Any composting opportunity for agricultural use should come FIRST. Properly done it improves soil quality, health and resilience against climate fluctuations, stores about 50% of residues‘ Carbon in the ground and helps to reduce needs for phyto-chemicals from refineries. Nevertheless about 50% of carbonaceous residues might not be useful for agricultural compost and could therefore be refined rather than burning them. But I have seen EU-financed tropical, nutrient rich biomass export terminal projects to sell “Carbon-Neutral” fuels into Europe, giving the Netherlands and Denmark high sustainability scores. On the other hand I‘ve seen in my grandparents‘ homeland how composting the same kind of residues helped to eliminate chemicals in the plantations and stabilized harvest yields over climate constraints while neighboring plantations suffered 40% shortfalls.

People‘s believe that everything would be so complex gives way to a lot of malpractices misrepresented as “Green“. In reality Nature‘s Climate relevant mechanisms are rather simple: All we’d need to respect are the Water Cycle and the Carbon Cycle. So effectiveness should always be measured on how much of our need can be covered from transforming one of these two resources into longer term stored or displaced aggregates. Water we might contaminate but rarely transform irreversibly. Unlike Carbon, which is destroyed into CO₂. Therefore we advocate to measure sustainability in terms of overall Carbon-Efficiency. Alike Energy-Efficiency any Carbon we do not need to spend for covering our need is a gain, financially and for the 2°C Carbon Budget. And that particularly applies for any carbonaceous residues mindlessly burned or left rotting away. What we don‘t use effectively, we lose. Each tonne of CO₂ represents 272kg destroyed Carbon, which in recycling could substitute 2.5 barrels crude oil. Of course Technology can do a lot – but aspirations to re-use CO₂ require 7 times the energy than recycling Carbon in lieu of transforming it into CO₂ in the first place. Which brings us back to the principles of Energy Efficiency!

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