Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Beautiful Desert -- Mankind's Dessert from Over-population


Unsustainable Biomass Combustion & Planetary-wide Desertification

Global Warming? Global Cooling? Global Pangeastasis? -- You decide.

Gaia alla carbonara or Biosphere flambe ? -- A Scorched Earth Policy -- one meal at a time!

"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble."
[ Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1 -- William Shakespeare ]

"Naked came I" -- Mother Nature stripped bare in the Concentrated Camp of a Famished Humanity

How do the approximately 935 million people living in Africa prefer to dine out every day? Obviously! -- alla carbonara ! -- from a charcoal grill. Yes ! -- that hickory-smoked flavor is de rigueur in the Cradle of Homo sapiens! -- that is, absolutely required in Africa, where cooking with biomass -- wood, charcoal, savannah grass, leaves, or dried dung -- is a daily Fact of Life.

If ! these can actually be gathered or bought, of course.

Imagine almost 1 billion people on one continent cooking daily with biomass. What is the result? -- desertification, deforestation, denudification, debeautification and terra-disfiguration on a Gaia- or Pangea-wide scale. Not to mention the release of millions of tons of CO2 daily into the innocent bystander atmosphere.

Some dyspeptic detractors of my cell-phone-based Carbon Micro Credit (CMC) system have pointed to the decreasing price of carbon on the European Climate Exchange (ECX) -- -- as a potential weakness in the concept that will scuttle its economics. But it's immediate carbon credit-based economics are just one minor factor in the value of the Carbon Micro Credit system for the Family of Man.

Whether you believe in global warming, global cooling, global fooling or immutable global terrastasis, it's probably better for us to leave the CO2, methane, O2 & nitrogen recipe of Earth's atmosphere just as God made it in The Beginning. Dramatically changing the recipe must have SOME downstream effects on the look and feel of the atmosphere, yes? And most recipe changes result in a bad aftertaste.

Moreover, the most immediate benefit from implementing the Carbon Micro Credit (CMC) system based on solar cooking or more efficient biomass-burning cook stoves is to reduce the rate of desertification in the Developing World. Solar cookers obviously consume no living or dead biomass, and more efficient charcoal or wood-burning stoves can reduce daily biomass combustion by up to 60 %. Yes, sixty percent. Which means the alarming rate of desertification in such countries as Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and The Sudan could be reduced by 1/3rd or more if nation-wide CMC programs were implemented.

What are other benefits of my cell-phone-based Carbon Micro Credit (CMC) system? Let me count the ways:

(1) Improved indoor air quality & health in colder regions where the cook stove is also used for heating. Or in warmer/rainy regions where families traditionally cook indoors. Various sources estimate that 1.5 - 2.0 million children and adults per year die prematurely from respiratory diseases caused by indoor cooking. The same number that die each year from malaria.

(2) Improved standards of living resulting from less money and time being spent on buying or gathering biomass:

-- For families that buy biomass fuel, they could reduce their daily fuel expense by 20 - 40 %. In some biomass-denuded countries, families living on US$ 1 - 2 / day spend up to 60 (sixty!) % of their daily income on fuel, sadly. Now, instead of buying biomass, they could buy shoes for their children or pay their tuition to attend elementary school. Yes, you have to pay for elementary school in many African countries.

-- For families that forage for biomass, often making round-trips up to 15 - 20 kilometers a day, many "man-hours" / day can be saved and dedicated to other activities such as education, farming, or commerce. Of course, the burden of gathering biomass usually falls on the shoulders of women and children, leading to over-worked women and under-educated children. Thus, the Carbon Micro Credit system will contribute towards the Emancipation of Women and the Education of the Child.

In sum, ignoring for the moment the additional monetary value of CMCs, more efficient cooking methods immediately boost the living standard of ultra-poor families by 15 - 35 %.

(3) MicroEducation and MicroMedicine:

Elsewhere in this blog I have already mentioned how the cell-phone base of the Carbon Micro Credit system can also be applied immediately to MicroTeleEducation and MicroTeleMedicine:

(4) The Foreign-aid Micro Credit:

As detailed at great length earlier in this blog, the cell-phone base paid for with Carbon Micro Credits can also be applied immediately to "air drop" micro foreign-aid payments to distressed populations during famines or national emergencies such as war or natural disasters:

(5) Increase in GDP:

A McKinsey study of cell-phone usage in China, India and The Philippines reports the rubric or rule-of-thumb that a 10 % increase in the penetration rate of cell phones in a Developing Country results in a 0.5 % increase in GDP from both productivity gains and overall increases in commercial activities.

(6) Add your own favorite benefits here:


So in view of all the upside provided by the cell-phone-based Carbon Micro Credit system, why do almost all NGOs (non-governmental organizations), charities, governments, microfinance institutions (MFIs) and major corporations ignore it?

Because they have terminal boners for the less elegant solutions they invented themselves, or for which they paid toooo much money to BIG-time consulting firms? Because this revolutionary paradigm comes from an unknown voice in San Diego? Perhaps because "micro" means it's very small and for the very Poor? Perhaps because "micro" means it will take tooo loooong to have a mega impact on Planet Earth ?

But millions of hectares of land in the Developing World became desert one small meal at a time. Thankfully, now, millions of the Poor in the Developing World will be elevated from Poverty by one small Carbon Micro Credit at a time.

In sum, is the daily price of a ton of CO2 really important in the Grand Scheme of Carbon Micro Credit Things ? No, assuredly not important at all.

Even if the Carbon Micro Credits (CMCs) earned in a year only paid for a US$ 6.00 cook stove and a stripped-down inexpensive cell phone for every family, or every 5 or 10 families to share for claiming their CMCs, the additional HUGE positives noted above for Mother Earth, for Father Time watching the Doomsday Clock, and for the Quality of Life of The Family of Man -- these collective positives roundly outweigh any time-line dilations and minor economic downside caused by today's low carbon prices.

Tsk, tsk. Now the Carbon Micro Credit naysayers and the dispossessed zero-sum micro-moaners must concoct new whining points and petty denials. But an arid and vapid Failure will be their just desserts, happily.

Very verdantly yours,

David A. Palella
Chief Carbon Iconoclast

San Diego, CA
tel: 858-793-0741