Suspected epicentre of swine flu is CDM project

I came across this article, which I found quite amazing.

A pig farm in Mexico claimed to be the source of swine flu is host to a UN-registered CDM project.

The clean development mechanism (CDM) project, which has not gone into operation, was to be developed by UK-listed Ecosecurities at a pig farm near the town of La Perote in Veracruz state.

Media reports have cited the farm as a possible source of swine flu that threatens to become a global pandemic.

However the plant’s owners and the Mexican government said there is no evidence for these claims, and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is carrying out an investigation at the site.

“Depending on the outcome of the investigation from the FAO, it is feasible that, if it had been implemented, the project would have helped by improving waste management on the site,” said Belinda Kinkead, head of implementation of Ecosecurities.

Little impact

Kinkead said swine flu was unlikely to have a major impact on supply of credits – unless the Mexican government was to order a mass cull of pigs in order to prevent the spread of disease. But so far the government shows few signs of doing this until a firm link is established between porcine and human influenza.

According to design documents, projects that capture animal waste in Mexico could supply around 23 million carbon credits from the Kyoto protocol’s CDM between now and the end of 2012. But the percentage of credits generated by the sector is typically only a quarter of that promised.

Of the 89 projects in the sector registered by the UN, just 16 projects have been issued with credits.

Ecosecurities has plans to develop 28 CDM projects in Mexico that cut methane emissions from pig waste, but only 10 have gone into operation, as the credits yielded by such projects is now so small as to render them unfeasible, Kinkaid said.


Other investors in animal waste management systems (AWMS) include Agcert, a company that was formerly listed on the London Stock Exchange. AES Agriverde, which now controls Agcert’s methane capture projects, said it couldn’t comment on the impact of swine flu on its Mexican operations because the company operates a media blackout in advance of declaring quarterly earnings.

Besides trying to sell CDM credits from projects developed by Agcert, the company aims to generate credits that could be sold in a future federal trading scheme in the US. Only last week, before news of swine flu broke, a US developer Environmental Credit Corp said it would try and generate 200,000 CERs from methane capture projects in Mexico. Cargill, a large US commodities trader, is also involved in methane capture CDM projects in Mexico, and is named as a participant in the La Perote project now being investigated by the FAO.

However, no one from the company was available to comment at press time.


Media outlets from across the world have reported claims by villagers close to the La Perote pig farm that flies feeding on animal waste at the facility had helped spread swine flu to the local human population. The FAO has said so far there is no evidence that swine flu has spread directly from pigs to humans in this way.

At pig farms, companies such as Ecosecurities use technology known as an anaerobic digester to cover up lagoons of animal waste at pig farms and then generate electricity from the captured methane.

By John McGarrity –

An Efficient Empire State Building

Former President Bill Clinton and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg are calling it a model for other buildings to follow, as the Empire State Building rolls out a plan to make  the city’s tallest and most iconic building more energy efficient.

The plan includes $500m in refitting and renovation to curb the amount of energy the building consumes by 1/3rd.  Each of the buildings 6,500 windows will receive a thin layer of film, while overall ventilation and insulation will be boosted as well. When all is said and done they estimate annual savings of $4.4 m.  Plus if the results are consistent with their goals, the Empire State Building hopes to attract bigger companies as tennants.

Carbon Trading in Australia

The federal government of Australia has proposed a law that 20% of the nation’s power supply must come from renewable energy, by 2020.  Some estimates from the alternative energy industry say this will require $60 billion in new investments.

And they’re not alone, as Pacific Hydro CEO Rob Grant explained on a recent edition of ABC Radio National’s Background Briefing:

Europe has endorsed a 20% target, many of the States in the USA have significant renewable energy targets in the order of 20%, and countries in South America where we are also operating have 15% to 20% renewable energy targets, and China has a 20% renewable energy target. So they’re generating a significant amount of demand for new capacity and the capital that’s required to invest in that will indeed be significant.

Australia is the largest, per capita, carbon emitter on the planet.  Which brings us to the role of Carbon Trading, Emissions Trading, Cap and Trade, Carbon Abatement, etc., in the federal governments goal of reducing emissions while pushing for more alternative energy.  The debate over whether 20% by 2020 is a big enough push, and whether or not the government’s carbon trading plan will be effective.

These are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is discussed in this program. Highly recommended listening.

Incentive and Bonus

Most people need incentive to do something that they normally would not do or don’t enjoy doing. We give our children a reward for studying harder, dogs a treat if they do a trick, give a tax incentive to the public to follow a certain course that they might not normally do, or hit them with a tax if they pursue activities that society deems unacceptable. We often give employees an extra bonus or income to encourage certain activities. Most of the time these incentives are needed, because people won’t often pursue specific activities without some form of encouragement.

I have found  that people don’t need encouragement to do things they want to do or feel a fulfillment for the activities they are doing. Basically, incentives  lure certain behavior out of people who wouldn’t do them, naturally. The more you dislike doing something, the more encouragement you need.

Why don’t  people do the things they want to do? Why don’t we make work fulfilling on its own? If people like what they do and feel a sense of purpose, they don’t need significant encouragement or monetary incentive.

It’s not the money. It’s the work that needs to change. There is so much valuable, rewarding, societal enriching activities that need to get done.  Doing these jobs are the incentive.

The rule of thumb is: the crumbier the job; the more demands placed on it; the more stressful the activity;  the more energy it costs you; the more money you want, and the more incentive you need. If you have people doing things that gives them energy, you don’t need to offer absurd bonuses.

“To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy. “

— Bette Davis