"Item of Interest for those who share our concerns about Shoreline Erosion impacts. "
5-29-19 See Notice following,
Joe Pluta, President, WMTA
WMTA Shares these commentaries, without taking a position unless otherwise noted, to bring information to our readers
To view the archives of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii's commentary click here.
By Tom Yamachika, President
Today I have some help from the Hawaii State Watch Doggie’s wife, who is a passionate researcher. Those who know them know who’s the brains in their family!
Q: I’ve been reading about our Department of Land and Natural Resources, which is doing a reforestation project in East Maui. It’s hired a vendor to certify the project for “carbon credits.” Why are they doing that if we don’t even have a carbon tax (which we have written about before here and here)?
A: Carbon credits have nothing to do with a carbon tax. The same end goal, perhaps, but the mechanism is very different.
Q: How so?
A: In the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty adopted by over 190 countries other than the United States, the treaty countries agreed to cap the amount of greenhouse gases that each country generates. The cap is measured in “Assigned Amount Units,” with each unit representing the emission of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or other equivalent greenhouse gas. Each member country then sets quotas on the emissions of greenhouse gases by “operators,” which refer to local businesses and other organizations.
An operator that wants to emit more greenhouse gases than its quota has the option to buy “carbon credits,” which can be sold by either another operator who agrees to reduce its own quota by the number of credits sold or – and this is where we come in –other organizations that can demonstrate that they have reduced the emissions of greenhouse gases elsewhere.
Our DLNR is saying that reforestation of 4,700 acres in the Kahikinui/Nakala area of East Maui will withdraw about 94,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. If validated, 94,000 carbon credits could be made available for sale.
Q: So where would the buyer come from? Somewhere on the mainland U.S.?
A: Could be. Although the U.S. has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol and there is no central national cap-and-trade carbon pricing, some states such as California have such systems in effect, so the buyer could come from the Northeast and mid-Atlantic States or California.
Australia, the European Union, and several European countries have ratified the Doha Amendment, which extended the Kyoto Protocol past its original expiration date in 2012. A buyer could easily come from one of those countries.
Son: Mom! What’s Doha?
A: It’s the capital of Qatar, on the coast of the Persian Gulf.
Son: Oh! Reminds me of shishkabobs! Mom, I’m hungry!
A: Grrr…anything reminds you of food, and you just had lunch! Growf!
Son: Yipe! I think I’ll take a nap then.
Q: Carbon credits can come from a project here on Maui even though our country didn’t ratify the Kyoto Protocol?
A: Yes, if the project is validated internationally. This was to encourage emission reduction projects to be undertaken in less developed countries that otherwise might not care about greenhouse gases.
Q: So how much are carbon credits selling for these days?
A: The market for credits rises and falls like the stock market, and the prices vary by project type. One website here is listing reforestation project credits at about 14 Euros a credit (US $15.75). At that price, the DLNR project credits could fetch about $1.5 million. And DLNR estimates its cost for carbon credit certification at $150,000.
Q: The money we might be able to get from mainland or foreign companies would help pay for the expenses of our government without reaching into our own pocketbooks. That’s a good thing, right?
A: Especially considering that reforestation is something we should be considering anyway because of the benefits to our environment.
For the Week of April 21, 2019
HIDOE Achieves Success With Job Order Contracting
By Tom Yamachika, President
We’ve written a lot about the Hawaii State Watch Doggie. Those who have visited our Twitter site have seen that the Doggie is a family man, with a wife and son. His son is five and loves to ask questions. He also really, really, really loves to eat.
Q: Are you reading something about my school, Dad?
A: Not just your school. The government is fixing the roofs on lots of schools. And it happens really fast.
Q: How fast?
A: They did eight roofing projects in about eight months.
Q: Is that fast?
A: Normally, one project using the traditional design-bid-build method takes an average of seven years.
Q: Why so long?
A: The project needs to go through appropriation, design, bidding, and construction.
Q: Why didn’t the roof projects take seven years also?
A: They changed the process to something called “Job Order Contracting.” Instead of having the contractors bid on only one job at a time, they had the contractors give the DOE a menu. The DOE picked a handful of contractors, and then was able to order projects off their menus.
Q: Like how I can go into a restaurant and order a hamburger?
A: Yes. But don’t do it now, it’s too close to dinner time.
Q: I want a hamburger!
A: Anyway, the DOE has lots of construction projects they need work on.
Q: You mean when they need chores done, they don’t do them?
A: No, they just make a list of the projects and call them “deferred maintenance.”
Q: How much deferred maintenance do they have?
A: At the beginning of this year, the DOE said it was $868 million. The Boss complained about that back in January.
Q: Wasn’t he also complaining about the University?
A: Yes, the University of Hawaii was reporting a backlog of $722 million.
Q: So, they didn’t do their chores either? And that’s legal?
A: Well, some of our lawmakers were scolding them when they came to the legislature for money.
Q: So, is the DOE going to use this menu stuff for other things?
A: Yes, they will use that method for air conditioning projects next, and then electrical upgrades.
Q: Is the method really new?
A: Not really. The federal government has been using it for some time.
Q: Then why haven’t we used it before?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Is the University of Hawaii going to use it?
A: I don’t know. They should. By the way, when are you going to clean your room?
Q: Next month. Deferred maintenance!
Save the Date
WATCH THE 2019 ANNUAL MEETING
WATCH THE LATEST HOT TOPICS MEETING - Click Here
Disaster Preparedness Expo 2016 was a success!
Click here to view all the presentations
Click here for Posts regarding Expo.