Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Polluter Dave Matthews Band, celebs, Al Gore movie, the Seattle Mariners, DNC all used same carbon 'offsetter'-CS Monitor

"NativeEnergy is the celebrities' choice in offset providers. But the stars might be hard-pressed to say what they are getting.
  • The Vermont for-profit carbon offset company lists among its eco-conscious customers Ben and Jerry's, the Dave Matthews Band, Jon Bon Jovi,
  • the Democratic National Committee, and

The company is a darling of many environmentalists.

  • But customers using NativeEnergy's online site to calculate and offset their current carbon footprint at $14 a ton are buying a promise that the environmental benefit will be delivered gradually over the next 20 years.
  • Until then, their climate-changing emissions are not neutralized.

The company's model is unique, and controversial. NativeEnergy mostly sells offsets for projects that have yet to happen or are only in the works.

  • What it calls a "help build" concept is
  • not accepted by the leading independent certification organizations, which typically verify only carbon reduction emissions
  • that actually have occurred.

NativeEnergy sells its emission reductions upfront –

  • and says they will be verified later, when they occur....

Tom Boucher, a former utility official who helped found NativeEnergy, defends his company's method as an innovative way of building new projects that help the environment.

  • "If you are simply paying for something that is already happening, it's far less compelling," he says in an interview in NativeEnergy's office. "The power of our help-build model with our upfront payments is [that] it really
  • becomes part of the financing."...

NativeEnergy described itself in 2007 as "a privately held Native American energy company," and now says it is "significantly owned" by native American tribes.

  • Tom Stoddard, a former utility company lawyer and vice president of NativeEnergy, says
  • native ownership is 16 percent.

Mr. Boucher and Mr. Stoddard are not native Americans. They say they help finance projects that benefit indigenous people.

  • Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, based in Minnesota, argues that carbon offsets
  • do more harm than help for native peoples.

He says indigenous people from Canada to South America are being pushed off land for incoming carbon projects, and often do not share in the economic benefits created by these offset projects.

They are "just another mechanism to relieve society of the fact that we need to make real changes," Mr. Goldtooth says.

  • "It functions to relieve someone of their guilt."...

NativeEnergy officials cite their part in building windmills in Greensburg, Kan., after that town was devastated by a tornado in 2007. President Obama touted the project to Congress as "a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community."

  • The US Department of Agriculture gave a $17.4 million loan to John Deere Renewables to finance the Greensburg project;

NativeEnergy provided some portion of John Deere's remaining costs of $6 million – they and John Deere will not say how much. Stoddard insists the windmills would not have been constructed without NativeEnergy money. ...

  • The question of additionality emerges in many carbon offsets: If a windmill or solar project would have been built anyway, then the money from the offsets was not needed and therefore the offset did not create an additional emissions reduction. It does not create a new counterbalance.

Tom Rawls, a vice president and spokesman for NativeEnergy, notes that...many of the company's

  • offsets are bought by businesses to "green" their operations. Rawls contends the businesses that buy offsets understand the complexity....

He says. "These are companies that are either very sophisticated or they are large and they have technical people and they understand what they are getting.""

Dave Matthews Band guilty of environmental crime, dumps 800 pounds of human waste. 3/10/05
  • Further evidence of moral superiority of "greens" like Dave Matthews:
CNN: "US Racism 'everywhere' says Dave Matthews," 9/21/09 Billions wasted in carbon offsets funds, UK Guardian, 9/25/08

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