The haves and the have nots

Exponents of emissions trading use a lot of jargon and acronyms. While aesthetically unappealing, technical jargon can be useful because it is concise and technical terms have specific meanings which can be checked and verified independently of the speaker. You have to call a PDD a PDD. This is quite different from management jargon which is confusing and ambiguous and a cover for woolly thinking.

There is, however, one linguistic term used in the field of emissions trading specifically in order to avoid being precise: the verb “to have”, in the context of “a project”.

“To have a project” is used to mean many things. Recently encountered usage includes: “to have contracted to purchase CERs from a project”; “possibly to be about to contract to purchase CERs from a project”; “to be in preliminary discussions with the developer of a project regarding possibly buying the CERs from it”; “to have spoken once to a project owner”; “to know of the existence of a project”.

Puffery is not unusual in the emissions trading business. The path to realising projects and transactions can be long and tedious, during which there may be little news to report. Imprecise use of “to have” allows users to give the impression of achievement without there actually being any.

In the interests of clarity and honesty, the phrase “to have a project” or “to have got a project” should be swiftly eliminated from the emissions trading glossary.

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