California’s First Carbon Auction: Without a Hitch or Full of Glitch?

For those interested in California’s cap-and-trade program, all eyes are on the first-ever auction of greenhouse gas emission credits (or “allowances”) scheduled for Wed., Nov. 14. Although the first wave of regulated entities were allocated free allowances to meet up to 90 percent of their recent emissions, such entities will have to cut their emissions in coming years or buy allowances or offsets to make up for any emissions over and above the allocated allowances.

Although buying and selling of offsets and allowances has been going on for some time via spot and exchange trades, the auction puts a spotlight on the burgeoning market as the program’s Jan. 1 compliance commencement date looms.

More than 23 million allowances for use in 2013 are being auctioned, with an additional nearly 40 million being auctioned for use in 2015. Bids are being sold in multiples of 1,000, and the floor price has been set at $10 per allowance. Both the state and private entities holding allowances will be selling at the auction. It is anticipated that the auction could raise more than $600 million for the state, and that future auctions could raise billions more.

The auction will be conducted electronically. To participate, eligible participants must have already registered and been approved as users in CARB’s market tracking system. Various market players have planned to participate in the auction, including regulated entities and investors.

A test run of the auction took place last month and was reported by CARB and others as a success. Whether next week’s actual auction, if it occurs as scheduled, will be perceived as a success will depend not only on the auction’s mechanics, but also, of course, on the trade price established for the allowances.

There has been some speculation that state officials might yet decide to postpone the auction due to threatened litigation that, if filed, could chill potential buyers’ willingness to bid. However, with the re-election of President Obama, the Democratic dominance in state government and the national discussion regarding a possible link between climate change and Hurricane Sandy, a decision could be made to go forward with the auction despite potential auction participation impacts.

All Politics is Local: Should State or Local Government Approve Renewable Energy Projects?

Who should have primary authority to approve solar photovoltaic (“PV”) and other renewable energy projects not within the California Energy’s Commission’s (“CEC”) exclusive jurisdiction?  Certain interests, such as the utility-scale solar industry and independent energy producers, are in favor of the CEC permitting or having the option to permit such projects.  Other interests, including local government agencies, the wind industry, and the Sierra Club, strongly believe that the decision to site and approve these projects should be made by counties and local government.

This issue has taken on a new level of prominence with the introduction of AB 2075, a bill that would expressly strip the CEC of jurisdiction over solar PV projects and would eliminate a  code section that gives an option to applicants proposing energy “facilities” otherwise exempt from CEC jurisdiction to submit to the CEC’s exclusive jurisdiction.  Currently, the CEC has clear jurisdiction over solar thermal projects, but it is unclear whether Public Resources Code Section 25502.3 in fact authorizes CEC to agree to take jurisdiction over non-thermal energy projects such as solar PV plants.  The CEC claims that Section 25502.3 in fact does allow renewable energy powerplant proponents, including solar PV applicants, to submit to CEC jurisdiction, thereby bypassing local control over such projects.

There is a common view that the environmental review process marshaled by the CEC is less onerous and more predictable than the environmental review conducted by local government.  Local agencies and certain environmental groups believe that the CEC is not adequately protective of local interests and the environment, and that project applicants should not be able to “cherry pick” the regulator.  Those in favor of CEC jurisdiction argue that local control over energy projects can result in unpredictable permitting issues and impediments to achieving California’s 33% renewable portfolio standard (“RPS”) requirement by 2020.  For example, it is claimed that Riverside County has stalled on all its solar applications in retaliation for a trade association (the Independent Energy Producers) lawsuit attempting to overturn a new property tax on project sites.

Although the arguments surrounding this issue do not always hold up (a number of California counties have, for example, emerged as leaders in the development of renewable energy), both sides in this debate have a point.  On the one hand, local governments should certainly have a say in the land use of their domain.  On the other hand, the CEC is our state’s energy expert and is perhaps better situated to help meet California’s hefty RPS mandate.

At the end of day, although AB 2075 could potentially bring greater clarity to renewable energy permitting processes, perhaps the status quo is not all that dysfunctional.  Most renewable energy applicants will likely still go to the local government for project approval, and the local government will likely conduct an appropriate review of the project.  However, if local government politics unduly interfere with the processing of a particular project, the CEC can be an appropriate escape valve.  Given the statewide 33% RPS, a permitting process that helps route around local political tit-for-tat is not necessarily a bad thing.

Adaptation: The Future of Climate Change

For those who believe in Climate Change, there is news: True to its word, the Union of Concerned Scientists  has published Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living, a guide examining which green actions make the most difference. How important is it to turn off the lights? According to these environmentalists, not very.  The vast majority of the green advice you’ll read? Nothing more than nice gestures; perhaps a little better than the alternatives.

According to their research, when it comes to climate change, there are four primary activities that dump carbon into the atmosphere:

  • traveling from place to place;
  • keeping buildings at pleasant temperatures;
  • creating electricity;
  • and raising animals for meat.

These conclusions raise some disturbing questions for those who believe in Climate Change. Cap and Trade?  Energy from solar and wind power? Nothing seems to be working. And indeed, with China, India and other underdeveloped countries yearning to have a standard of living commensurate with ours, it’s almost a moot point to consider what we should do if the largest populations in the world are not on board. Even in the United States, environmental groups were angered and frustrated by Obama’s decision in September to postpone indefinitely a regulation to tighten ozone standards.

Perhaps the answer is adaptation. This is not a new idea, but maybe a little more energy and money should be devoted to answering some very basic questions. How do we keep our water supply intact? How do we keep our coastal cities from flooding? What are going to be the biggest issues and how can they be fixed?

There is a silver lining. For those who believe there will be major problems, consider the new business opportunities arising due to climate change. In the next ten years, it is possible that one of the new approaches to climate change will be about adapting to it.  If so, we can expect significant business investment in that nascent arena as well.

The Great Carbon Shuffle

Government programs designed to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere appear to be having the unintended consequence of actually increasing the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted.  Programs at both the federal and state level in California intended to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas produced from among other activities, the combustion of fossil fuels in cars, trucks and other forms of transportation, are a particularly noteworthy example.  Unfortunately, the old adage that unintended consequences will frequently result from changes made with the best of intentions is truer than ever in the area of climate change-related policy and regulation.

When fossil fuels, which contain carbon, are burned in a vehicle’s engine, the carbon is converted to CO2 and, unless somehow trapped, this gas is emitted into the surrounding air.  The general objective of climate change-related policy and regulations is to reduce the overall amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that are being emitted into the earth’s atmosphere in order to slow global warming.

At the federal level, a regulation known as the “renewable fuel standard program” or “RFS2” requires that ethanol, which generally has a lower carbon content than the crude oil used in most petroleum-based transportation fuels, be added during the fuel manufacturing process to reduce the fuel’s overall carbon content.  An increasing amount of ethanol is required to be added during manufacturing over the multi-year life of the program.  To even further reduce the carbon content, the RFS2 regulation requires that a certain percentage of “advanced biofuel” be used in fuel manufacturing and, in essence, requires fuel manufacturers to select only those ethanols that contain the very lowest levels of carbon.

Almost all ethanol produced in the United States is made from corn and, unfortunately, corn-based ethanol tends to contain relatively high levels of carbon.  Brazilian ethanol, on the other hand, which is made from sugarcane, contains relatively low levels.  As a result, sugarcane-based ethanol produced in Brazil is being shipped by tank vessel to the refineries in the United States that manufacture transportation fuels and corn-based ethanol produced in the United States is being shipped back to Brazil, where it is refined into fuel to power that country’s large and growing vehicle population.

Because a molecule of CO2 emitted anywhere in the world has exactly the same impact on the earth’s atmosphere as a molecule emitted anywhere else, the actual effect of this cross-shipping program is a net increase in the amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere, along with an increase in product costs, because of the not insubstantial CO2 emissions that result from the long tanker voyages that are required to make it work.  This “crude shuffling” and its adverse effect on overall CO2 emissions is an unintended consequence of a program that was designed to reduce CO2 emissions from the combustion of domestic transportation fuels.

Another example at the federal level is the debate over the XL Keystone Pipeline proposed to transport Canadian crude oil, much of it from that country’s vast stores of oil contained in tar sands, to refineries on the U.S Gulf Coast.  Opposition has been mounted to the project because Canadian crude oils tend to be higher in carbon content than most domestic crude oils.  One of the arguments made against approving the pipeline is that the United States should not be encouraging the use of higher carbon-containing crude oils in domestic fuel production.  As a result, the project has been delayed and the Canadians have advised that, if the delays continue or the project is ultimately disapproved, they will have no choice but to construct a pipeline to Canada’s west coast to allow shipments of their crude by tank vessel to refineries in Asia or Europe that would be happy to receive the product.  If this were to occur, the Canadian crudes containing higher levels of carbon would still be refined into transportation fuels which are combusted in vehicles, and the resultant CO2 would still be emitted into the atmosphere.  The emissions would simply occur in another part of the world.  There would again be an overall net increase in the amount of CO2 emitted because of the much greater level of crude transportation emissions associated with shipping the crude to the other side of the globe.

In California, one of the climate change-related programs being aggressively promoted by the state’s Air Resources Board is the Low Carbon Fuel Standard or “LCFS.”  Like the federal renewable fuel standard program, the LCFS seeks to reduce the level of carbon that exists in the components that make up petroleum-based transportation fuels, but do so by penalizing the use of higher carbon containing crude oils in gasoline and diesel fuel manufactured at California refineries.  The difference is that the LCFS focuses on the crude oils, rather than the ethanols, that are used to manufacture transportation fuels.  While the objective of the program is to encourage California refiners to lower the amount of CO2 that results from fuel production, it is questionable whether there are really any feasible or cost-effective ways of achieving that result.  Instead, the effect could be to force California crude oil producers to either ship their crude to out-of-state or out-of-country refiners that are not subject to the LCFS or to shut in existing production that tends to have higher carbon content and therefore lower profitability.  A likely result is that most California crudes that would be penalized if used by nearby California refiners will be used somewhere else in the world instead, with an attendant increase in overall CO2 emissions due to the transportation-related emissions required to ship to these more remote refining locations.

Whether the foregoing result will in fact occur is now in doubt because of a December ruling by a federal judge in consolidated cases brought by major trade groups for both the petroleum refining and ethanol production industries challenging the legality of the LCFS program.  The court enjoined enforcement of the program, which was scheduled to commence on January 1, 2012, on the ground that it violates the Dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.  The Air Resources Board, which promulgated the LCFS, has appealed that decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Whether the LCFS will ultimately be put in place is therefore currently unclear.

One may wonder why such programs, that result in unintended adverse consequences despite their good intentions, remain in place.  Unfortunately, policy makers and regulators often adopted a narrow and parochial focus on the issues they must deal with, while remaining oblivious to the more global consequences of their actions, or they incorrectly assume that the rest of the world will quickly follow their example.

Ways to Rev Up Your Metabolism

Diet With Friends

You may have experienced going on a new diet together with a friend. Some weeks later, you are disappointed to learn that your friend has lost a lot more weight than you did. All other things being equal, one likely reason for the disparity is metabolism. The metabolic rate varies from one individual to another.

The Food We Eat Fuels Out Body and Gives Us Energy

What is metabolism?  Metabolism is the sum total of the chemical reactions in our cells that

convert the fuel from food we eat into the energy required by the body to perform anything, be it walking or thinking or talking. Seen in this context, the better our metabolism works, the faster it can burn calories and convert them into energy. The key, therefore, is to increase your metabolic rate. How do you do this?

Minimize stress:  since you can’t get rid of it entirely, learn to control it with some relaxation techniques. Stress not only thwarts your efforts to lose weight; it can inflict damage on the physical, mental and emotional aspects of your health. Your body releases certain hormones when you are experiencing stress. This causes your body to retain the fact cells, thus keeping you from shedding your excess weight.

Eat More Ofter and Smaller Portions

Eat smaller portions but at more frequent intervals. This helps you lose weight faster because when you eat only a small amount of food, your body will be working more efficiently and burning the calories better. Think of your body as a food processor. If you want to chop up something really fine, you don’t put all of it in the processor at one time. The same principle works here.

Exercise Everyday

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. It could be just walking around the block, or a bit more intense, like jogging or cycling. If you’re on an exercise regimen, you can raise the level of intensity or add more exercise. Vary your exercise routine to keep from getting bored. You can also try resistance training. This type of exercise will help you burn more calories as you build up your muscles.

These are proven ways of helping your body burn calories faster. It’s important to monitor your calorie intake. If you want to keep eating the usual amount of food, then you have to exercise more. Of course, you will lose more weight if you eat less than what you’re used to and still do your exercise routine.

The best way to lose weight is follow a proven weight loss program as well as including exercise

 

What Constitutes A Good Healthy Diet?

Foods Gives The Body A Strong Protection Against Infection

We are living at a time when botox treatment, liposuction, skin stretching and skin tucking, face-lift, among other synthetic treatments are the order of the day. People do these things that cost thousands of dollars, and which are life-threatening with the hope of achieving a good-looking body, and perhaps healthy figure. Be advised though that nothing in the world today can beat a good diet. The right combination of food gives the body a strong protection against infections and illnesses, and gives the body energy and strength to undertake day to day activities.

What really is a good diet is a question that lacks a clear definition as yet. Debate is still rife among nutritionists and health and fitness experts on whether it is the carb or protein content in a meal that should be given top priority. Sadly, lay people rarely assess their intake’s nutritional value in terms of carbs or proteins as there is no gadget that helps determine just how much calories a pack of French fries contain, neither is there a counter or measure in the stomach that determines the fat content of a chicken leg.

Don’t Miss Breakfast It’s The Most Important Meal of the Day

Many people today confess to going without breakfast citing reasons such as lack of time to prepare and take breakfast, lack of resources, and sometimes even lack of knowledge, effort, and talent to cook breakfast. What they don’t know is that missing breakfast is more or less a suicidal matter as it happens to be the most important meal of the day.

Typically, breakfast should be dominated by carbohydrates from such things as rice, pastry, bread, or root crops, which should be complemented by proteins in form of milk, cheese, eggs, or meat, and minerals and vitamins in the form of veggies and fruits. This is because carbs provide energy for growth and to help sustain an individual all day long. As mentioned, breakfast is the most important meal of the day hence should be the heaviest as it acts as your fuel for the entire day ahead.

More Protein and Less Carbs

Nutritionists advice that lunch should be the reverse of your breakfast i.e. more proteins and less carbs. You should also ensure you take a side dish made up of vegetables and a fruit dessert to provide you with necessary fiber to aid in digestion of the carbs and proteins from the two meals.

If you really wish to be slim, you should go ahead and cut down on what you take for dinner. Just take a sufficient amount of carbs and proteins as well as veggies and fruits, which should then be complemented by a glass full of milk just before bedtime.

 Snack In Moderation

Snacking should be done in moderation and if possible, one should take fruits to avoid losing appetite for the upcoming meal. But if you cannot ‘survive’ on fruits alone, some bit of ice cream, chocolate or an occasional gulp of wine is acceptable, but only in moderation.

The best way to lose weight is follow a proven weight loss program as well as including exercise

Handy Healthy Tips to Help You Lose Weight

Enjoy Your Weight Loss Program

The world today is enthralled with weight loss, both for cosmetic and health reasons. In spite of the reason, majority of the people want the shortest way possible and end up trying all sorts of fad diets, very extreme workout regimens, and poor lifestyle choices that will only end up thwarting their weight loss goals. The major reason why a weight loss program will not work is because for you to stick to one, you have to be comfortable in it, enjoy it, and the program has to be safe and healthy.

Here are some weight loss tips to help you in your quest to shed off those extra pounds. With these tips, you don’t have to get rid of your favorite foods or use every minute of your waking time in the gym exercising. Rationally, a good weight loss program should take some time to record tangible success. If you come across someone telling you that you will lose weight in a very short span of time, be cautious because the person might be uninformed or worse still, not honest with you. For a start, you can stick to a single weight loss program for 30 or so days, and see how it takes you. If no changes, you can then go for something else.

Dedicate Some Time Everyday to Exercise

The first tip that will help you lose weight is to walk, walk, and walk some more. If you can dedicate some time everyday for walking, you will be sure of expending calories while in the process fortifying your muscles and heart. A mini cycle too will do. A mini cycle is a portable workout unit that resembles a bicycle pedal on a metal bar. With a mini cycle, you can be able to pedal and move your legs while at your desk in the office, on the couch or wherever else you can put and reach the pedals comfortably.

The third tip talks about taking the stairs in place of an escalator or elevator. Even though you might not notice the effort involved, it is a great weight loss exercise. Equally, you can decide to walk to the grocery store and park the car somewhere far away. Tip four talks about food. Losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of all your favorite foods, it means eating the foods in moderation, and at times only when the craving is so strong.

 Adopt A Practical Exercise Routine

While at the moment there is no particular type of food that will interfere with your weight loss attempts, when you take any food thought to be ‘bad’ in excess can for sure interfere. The last tip talks about adopting a practical exercise routine and sticking to it by setting some time for it every day. People who set a routine are highly likely to stick to it and record success than someone without a plan.

Body Fat Reduction Techniques

Stay Calm and Reduce Your Body Fat

There are many techniques available to reduce your body fat and if you have already researched for some techniques then you might have seen crash diets or some pills are advised for reducing your body fat within short time and are claimed to work best when it comes to getting rid of body fat in a quick period of time. It is just crap and who claims that this is the best technique to reduce your body fat are trying to deceive you. If you really want to reduce the body fat then stay calm and try to adopt these under given techniques for the purpose.

Know What Your Body Fat Is

One must have knowledge that what actually fat is and what are its pros and cons to your overall body and health? It is the amount of calories which remains in your body after the completion of the digestion process. These calories get accumulated in the body with the course of time. It is not easy to digest fatty foods like meat and the ultimate consequence of it will be greater accumulation of fat in the body which will result in body fat in different areas of your body especially belly area.

Exercising For Half An Hour Can Bring Lots of Changes In Your Body

Exercise is the best technique one can adopt if he/she wants to reduce body fat in a quick period of time. If you already have lots of fat then it is better to go for exercise rather then been static and always been at risk of being obese. Exercising for half an hour can bring lots of changes in your body and you will be amazed what this little activity can do for your overall physique and health.

Control Your Diet

The goal of reducing body fat cannot be achieved only by doing some exercises throughout the week. Still you have to do a lot in order to get rid of your body fat. After doing some exercise, coming back home and eating pizza or some heavy meal is not the right choice to make if you want to reduce body fat from your body. This is not understandable that at one side you are exercising and on the other side you are eating heavy meals which are full of fats. If you follow this pattern, then I am sorry to say that the outcomes of your daily exercise would be zero. You have to control your diet in order to reduce your body fat. Consume a well balanced diet full of vegetables and fresh fruits and avoid fatty and junk foods at all cost.

Above mentioned were some body fat reduction techniques which are very easy to follow. Start following these tips immediately if you want to get rid of your body fat in a quick period of time.

get a flat stomach and six pack abs

The Main Reason Behind Failed Diets

Are Failed Diets Because of the Diet or Dieter?

It is widely reported that over 95% of weight loss diets don’t work. This shocking statistic leave one to wonder what might be the problem — is it with the diets or with the dieters. Sadly, over 75% of dieters, despite the realization and the fact that weight loss diets don’t work, will still use one diet or another, and will always be alert on whatever weight loss diet that comes on the market claiming to work wonders. The reason for this is simple — the society has put so much pressure on people to look ‘thin’ in order to be ‘beautiful’ and ‘attractive’.

Why do diets therefore fail? This is the million dollar question that lacks a distinct answer. Well, be advised that many diets, actually 98% of all diets work, but temporarily. Most often than not, they will give very quick results which sadly, is what many people are always after. The main challenge comes in maintaining the weight as it is because it is quite hard to stick to such strict eating plans.

The Moment You Shed Those Extra Pounds You Revert Back To Previous Bad Eating Habits

The reason is because such eating plans will expect one to stick to them forever, despite the fact that they are very boring. The moment you shed off those extra pounds that you wanted, chances of reverting back to your previous eating habits are very high, meaning the chain will continue — weight comes back, sometimes more than it was and will most often come back as fast as you lost it.

Embrace A Healthy Eating Plan and Exercise Plan

The best approach to weight loss, hopefully permanent weight loss, is embracing a healthy eating plan and complimenting that with a good and viable exercise plan — it is that simple. It is simply about looking at what you eat and how you eat it. For example, avoid fast foods and excessively fried foods and instead opt to boil or steam. Cut down on the chocolate and chips and instead go for that healthy fruit or snack. Take plenty of water, as much as the recommended 8 glasses of water daily.

It Doesn’t Matter The Type of Exercise You Do As Long As You Move Your Body

You should however not torture yourself because being human, sometimes the craving can be so strong. You can always give in to the cravings, once in a while, but only when you cannot resist it. As mentioned, exercise is equally very important and will not only help you lose weight, it will benefit your whole being. It doesn’t matter the type of exercise you do, as long as you move your body and avoid being sedentary. You can swim, do gardening, play basketball, baseball, just about anything that will enhance your muscle tone and help keep in check your weight.

Truth of the matter is, not everyone can be thin although granted, everyone would want to. However, you can work hard at attaining your best possible weight. Even though it is not easy, for a determined heart, it is very much possible.

The best way to lose weight is follow a proven weight loss program as well as including exercise

Interminable Weight Loss Solutions

You Need A Permanent Solution to Permanent Weight Loss

The world is full of optimistic people who want to lose weight but majority of them fail, while only a very slim percentage emerge victorious. Even so, the biggest battles for the victors come in maintaining the lost weight where it is supposed to be. Majority of people will lose weight and when they think that it’s time to start enjoying a healthy life, before they realize it the weight has returned, sometimes even more than what they already lost. Needless to mention, this is very depressing and may lead to loss of self esteem. What you don’t realize is that what you really need is a permanent solution to your problem.

Eat Healthy & Exercise

There are some apparent routes to take in an endeavor to lose weight which include adjusting your diet into a healthier one and increasing the amount of exercise that you engage in. Eating however is what many people find the hardest to curb and control because of the temptation that often accompanies it. The first thing that you should do is to make your home a fat-free zone. Take for example you are very hungry and are desperately browsing through your cupboards and pantry to look for something to eat, and you bump on a packet of crisps. Well, the temptation will be so hard to resist.

Go For A Healthier Snack

The human desire for instantaneous food can be so strong and what is worse, it is at such times that your inner demons will convince you that a packet of crisps will not hurt you in any way, after all – ‘it is just a packet of crisps’. You will know better not to eat it but if that packet of crisps wasn’t available at that time of need, of course you wouldn’t have eaten it and would have gone for a healthier snack.

Get Rid Of All The Junk Food In Your Kitchen Cupboards

That said, you need to start by checking your cupboard, what it is that is considered ‘unhealthy’ for someone on a mission to lose weight. Remove all the fatty foods, foods rich in calories, sugary food stuffs, etc and replace them with whole meal and whole fiber rich foods. Note also that drinks too have a role to play in majority of weight problems today. Get rid of all alcoholic drinks and even some non-alcoholic drinks which are rich in sugars and calories. Actually, you will be healthier taking only water than you would taking sodas.

Stick to fresh fruits and veggies and drink plenty of water and when complemented with a good exercise program, you will be sure that you will have your weight go back to where it belongs and stay there, hopefully this time forever.

The best way to lose weight is follow a proven weight loss program as well as including exercise