Liverpool City Council has sealed a partnership deal with The Poseidon Foundation to trial their blockchain solution over the next 12 months.
Liverpool is the biggest city in England and the Council has explored estimated 558,000 tonnes of CO2 production since 2012 and is to “host a Strategic Business Summit in September 2018 with businesses, social enterprises and not-for-profits from across the city region, to discuss how Poseidon be used by companies in view to be climate friendly”
According to the Mayor, Joe Anderson, he stated Liverpool visions to become the first climate positive city in the world by the end of 2020. He said:
“Liverpool City Council has a significant carbon footprint because of all the services we provide – be it street lighting, the running of countless properties like St George’s Hall or the Arena and our fleet of vehicles.
We are already making significant strides to reduce our impact by 40% by 2030, but that is not enough and partnering with Poseidon means we can explore radical new ways to do more.”
Climate change is the catch-all term for the shift in worldwide weather phenomena associated with an increase in global average temperatures. It’s real and temperatures have been going up around the world for many decades.
The change is even more visible over a shorter time period – compared to average temperatures between 1961 and 1990, 2017 was 0.68 degrees warmer, while 2016 was 0.8 degrees warmer, thanks to an extra boost from the naturally-occurring El Niño weather system.
While this temperature increase is more specifically referred to as global warming, climate change is the term currently favored by science communicators, as it explicitly includes not only Earth’s increasing global average temperature, but also the climate effects caused by this increase.
Global effort which Liverpool City has joined are focused on keeping temperatures from increasing more than two degrees above that pre-industrial average, and ideally no more than 1.5 degrees. A global cap on the amount of carbon that can be omitted, therefore, has been set with some 170 countries agreeing to it.
This means every country is set with amount of carbon they can emit. Any nation that exceeds this amount will either buy carbon credit from others or from platforms that plant trees to combat effects of carbon.
This carbon quota have become a business with billions traded in carbon credits. That’s where Poseidon comes in. Utilizing Stellar’s blockchain because they say it currently has capacity, they claim to offer a way whereby carbon credits are accessible to the “little people” and not just a matter for the “big boys.”
Poseidon app integrated with blockchain stuff and the rest on the backend, claim to show you how much carbon you have emitted so far. From Poseidon whitepaper says this can be integrated with Points of Sale systems, so if you please all this offsetting can be done automatically.
You can even buy credits if you want as a donation sort of thing to support a cleaner environment, with it done through an Ocean Token which is currently ICO-ing that will use some of the proceeds to fund these tree planting like projects.
The blockchain itself is mainly used to address a double spending problem in carbon credits. That is where you plant a tree, giving you say ten credits, which you sell to whoever, and then turn around and sell it to whoever else sort of endlessly.
In the blockchain system, in theory anyway, you only get the ten credits once because then everyone knows it is spent.
We say in theory because blockchains are perfect in verifying things that are already on the blockchain, or any digital thing really, but has the same problems as anything else where it concerns external inputs of physical events.
That is, in a blockchain system at the data inputing point you can say there is a tree, and they can say here are 10 credits, and now this ten credits can’t be double spent. But whether there is actually a tree, that’s a human matter where the blockchain can’t help.
What would be very interesting and easily doable in this sort of set-up is public authentication. That is we have, in an illustrative example, Poseidon that says there are 10 credits as there is a tree, and then we have an independent verifying agency that says, yup, we looked at the tree, it is new, it exists, all clear, and signs with their private key.
Obviously we’re humans, so there can be no perfection. The private key can be stolen and so on, but arguably in a non-blockchain system you can’t have such public authentication or it can’t be as potentially open and free market based as a blockchain public authentication system can be imagined.
And you do need that verification because as we say blockchains aren’t inspectors going around looking at the trees which we are using symbolically as carbon reducers.
That is, we do not know if Poseidon did in fact plant a tree, metaphorically speaking of course because there can be other carbon reducing things they can do.
Nor do we necessarily know whether they are giving or taking valid credits and so on, because the credit has to be typed in there by a human who of course could well be lying. But what we do know is that the credit, which may or may not be true, once spent is actually spent.
That is to say many of these potential problems we have pointed out exist in all systems and the blockchain can not assist there, therefore there needs to by systems and so on to deal with it as in any system, but there is something that the blockchain can offer and that is certainty after the data has been entered.
In a centralized database, and in this set-up, for it to really be trusted, you of course need authenticators and so on who go out to the trees and say, yup, there is a tree here, input 10.
The problem is that 10 is now in a database the administrator can change as he likes and inputs 1 or 100. Moreover, if he wants to he can change the database to say the 10 was spent when it wasn’t, or wasn’t spent when it was, or worse he can corrupt the database completely.
In a public blockchain setting, all or most of the problems end when that ten is entered on the blockchain. Thereafter, there can be no doubt that it is a 10, and not a 100, and if it is spent that it is spent.
Making this use case somewhat interesting. It is of course early days and plenty needs to be refined, but if rose glasses are taken out and we clearly see, and thus clearly see what has to be done, there is some considerable improvement.
For such considerable improvement to really be felt one needs scale or network effects, one needs many people to use it and to jump on it, so this backing by Liverpool City may mean a lot more than one initially thinks.
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