The Carbon Charter

I’ve just finished Godo Stoyke’s The Carbon Charter; blueprint for a carbon free future (New Society Publishers, 2009) and I must say it should be required reading for every policy maker and lobbyist in the land.

the-carbon-charterIt’s a little book.  Kind of a “light read.”  Filled with photographs and charts and sidebars that make our journey into a low carbon future easy to follow.

It’s a survey book that’s starts with the simple premise of how we must immediately start to reduce our emissions, and then travels around the world explaining different successful approaches in different locales.

Stoyke appears to be an Albertan architect who is at ease with LEED buildings as he is with zero waste communities as he is with plugin hybrids.  It’s sort of a Natural Capitalism Lite–a pocketbook that goes a long way in increasing our carbon literacy.

I found it to be an inspiration.  At Piedmont Biofuels we have accidentally stumbled into what Stoyke would call “eco-industrial design.”  Our quest for sustainable biodiesel began like everyone else’s–that is we generated a whole bunch of co-products that we threw away.

Once upon a time we would buy a pound of fat, turn eighty percent of it into biodiesel, and pitch the rest.  Now that our bio-refinery is working, we account for every ounce.  We used to ship some biodiesel out with our wash water.  Now we recover it and sell it. We used to ship free fatty acids to compost.  Now they power our boilers and have allowed us to turn off our electric heaters.  Glycerin that was once too contaminated to find a buyer now ships to market.

We are not getting paid for our carbon savings on biodiesel yet.  But that will come.

The Carbon Charter outlines “bio-bounties,” and “bio-feebate” policy mechanisms that can reward carbon reduction in a revenue neutral way.  From carbon labeling schemes to general wealth indices which include things like happiness, Stoyke’s book paints a hopeful picture.

Those of us immersed in renewable energy often labor long and hard in the darkness–often awash in red ink–but we do so with the knowledge that change is going to come.  The Carbon Charter does a wonderful job of enumerating the many ways in which change is already coming to pass…

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