Bits for Carbon Trading

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= trading bits and bandwidth which have an extremely small footprint against activities that have a heavy carbon footprint


Proposal by Bill St. Arnaud [1]:

"There is a growing consensus that global warming is one of the greatest threats facing humanity. Increasingly governments and citizens are becoming aware of the severity of this threat and are clamouring for solutions.

To date the most obvious approaches to mitigate against global warming is to impose carbon taxes or implement various forms of carbon trading such as cap and trade or carbon offsetting.

Carbon taxes however, even if revenue neutral, are going to meet with stiff political resistance. Rather than imposing taxes can we instead provide carbon "rewards" where consumers and businesses are rewarded for reducing their carbon footprint, rather than being penalized if they don't?

To date carbon trading has been associated with various government mandated cap and trade systems or unregulated carbon offset trading. In cap and trade systems large carbon emitters are allocated carbon emission targets and can only exceed these targets by purchasing carbon permits from organizations who produce far less carbon. In offset trading there are a number of independent companies that audit and trade carbon offsets of individuals and businesses for high carbon emission activities such as air travel offset against telecommuting and other energy saving practices.

However these markets are very immature and relatively small.

Instead of trading carbon emission for carbon reduction, perhaps a better scheme would be to trade bits and bandwidth which have an extremely small footprint against activities that have a heavy carbon footprint." (


"A couple of simple examples come to mind which have been mentioned before on this blog:

(a) Amazon could work with public transportation systems and offer free eBooks with its new Kindle eReader to people who buy public bus and subway passes. Amazon would get a small percentage of every bus pass to pay for its ebooks and consumers would have a new incentive in which to take the bus or subway. Even if consumers still drive their SUV to work they would be helping out by providing a new revenue source to public transportation

(b) Free broadband Internet could be offered to consumers who are willing to pay a carbon premium on their gas and/or electric bill. See (see Green Broadband)

(c) University students could be awarded with free cell phone, music and or videos if they agree to pay a carbon premium on their parking passes." (

More Information

  1. Follow the Energy Computing Grids
  2. Green Broadband
  3. Green Grid