Lord Chitragupta was looking for a promotion. He approached his master Lord Yama (God of Death and Sun Gods son).
For past thousand years, Lord Chitragupta was keeping records of “paap” (bad deeds or sin)” and “punya“(good deeds) of all the earthly souls. Basis on his meticulous records, souls that arrived with a “punya deficit (or a paap surplus)” were sent to the “Naraka” (i.e. hell) with 100 lashes to begin with. Very few who had “punya surplus” were sent to the heaven with a bouche of flowers and a welcome drink (Sura – the divine wine).
When Lord Chitragupta stood in front of Lord Yama asking for a promotion, he saw that Lord Yama had a serious face and he wasn’t very happy. Over the years, number of souls arriving with punya deficit was increasing and this was leading to serious crowding in the Naraka. On the other hand, heaven had very few souls and hence there was a lot of surplus space. He told Lord Chitragupta that there was a need for an innovative and rational management of earthly souls regarding their paap and punya accounts. Citing that as a KPI (Key Performance Indicator), Lord Yama asked Chitragupta to take action and visit the Earth.
(Incidentally, those of you who don’t know – in ancient Indian mythology, Chitragupta, son of Lord Brahma, is the scribe who records all actions of every human being. These records are reviewed by Yama for judging the soul after death.
It is said that Yama would become confused sometimes when dead souls would come to him, and would occasionally send the souls to either heaven or hell wrongly. Lord Brahma, determined to solve this problem sat in meditation for thousands of years. Finally, when he opened his eyes, Chitragupta stood before him. Chitragupta, sometimes referred to as the first one to use letters, is known to be incredibly meticulous, and with his pen and paper tracks every action (good or bad) of every sentient life form. These perfect and complete documents are referred to in mystical traditions as the “Akashic” records.)
Desperate to get promoted, Lord Chitragupta decided to land on the Earth. He chose to come to Mumbai, the city of Jugads.
(Jugaad is a term used in India and is applied to a creative or innovative idea providing a quick, alternative way of solving or fixing a problem – but no success guaranteed!)
A trading platform is an online system that uses computer software to execute trades between buyers and sellers of various commodities in a networked environment. The Transparent Commodity Exchange Limited (TCEL) is a technology -driven online commodity exchange platform in India. In order to facilitate reduction in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, TCEL was planning to launch an online platform for trading GHG Emission Reduction Units (ERU).
The idea was simple. The platform will allow an organization (seller) to “sell” its ERUs to a buyer at a market price, thereby giving a monetary benefit to the seller and an advantage to the buyer. The advantage for buyer will be reduction in the capex and opex for reducing GHG emissions and over a short time so as to meet the targets.
My Professor friend strongly apposed the concept of Emission Trading Schemes (ETS). According to him, ETS is a distraction and a half-measure to solve the large and pressing issue of global warming. He cited paper by Simon Caney and Cameron Hepburn on “Carbon Trading: Unethical, Unjust and Ineffective?” recently published by Cambridge University Press.
Accordingly to this paper, emissions trading may allow the wealthy to evade their responsibilities. How can we allow an entity to pay another to avoid meeting its own ethical obligation – that was the question raised. Further, the question about the “distributional justice” of emissions trading may not be easy to answer. Finally, actual effectiveness of emissions trading in reducing GHG emissions could be an issue.
Professor further cited a very interesting argument made against ETS on GHG emissions in another publication “The Hidden Disequities of Carbon Trading: Carbon Emissions, Air Toxics, and Environmental Justice”
According to the authors of this paper, global climate change may simply not be translatable into monetary terms. In fact, carbon trading could well be an example of neoliberal practices that perpetuate existing imbalances – e.g., an industrialized North versus a pre-industrial South (Bachram, 2004).
Above all, GHG is not a surrogate or represents all pollutants e.g. toxic chemicals. Emitting carbon sometimes means emitting other air pollutants – what other scholars refer to as co-pollutants (Walch, 2018). Trading carbon may therefore mean implicitly trading air toxics like benzene, dioxins, and ammonia. In other words, there are unrecognized externalities to carbon trading that are missed.
I thought that I should alert TCEL about these nuances of carbon trading.
While I was about to go to meet officers at TCEL, the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, I was astonished to see Lord Chitragupta standing there. He was smiling.
Lord Chitragupta through his divine powers already knew everything about the ETS on GHG emissions. He also knew all the pros and cons.
I served him a coffee that was Certified Organic, and meeting requirements of Fair Trade
“Dr Modak, can we develop a P2P platform for trading?” He came to the point.
“What is P2P?” I asked the Lord
“Oh P2P stands for “paap” (bad deeds or sin)” and “punya“(good deeds)”. Answered the Lord.
He started explaining to me his idea on trading. I could clearly see that he was inspired by the jugad we currently play on the ETS.
His idea was straightforward. He said that he will use TCEL’s software platform (or of the like) to network all living humans on the earth – of course with some restrictions e.g. only adults allowed.
He will make his “Akashic” records on Paap and Punya available to TCEL. Oh that’s the registry you mean. I started finding similarities.
“Yes Dr Modak, that will be the registry for the P2P platform” Lord Chitragupta smiled.
“Now, those souls who have a surplus on punya due to good deeds (equivalent to ETS like cleaner fuels, higher energy efficiency and material circularity) may sell their P-units (like Participatory or P-Notes) to those paapi souls who want to offset their sins (emissions). Those practicing good deeds will thus be incentivized and those committing sins will increase their chances to go to heaven instead of Naraka (hell).
As P2P trading on the platform gets a traction, then perhaps distribution of souls between heaven and hell will be evened out. This will help me to meet my KPI with Lord Yama and I will get a promotion.”
Lord Chitragupta got up after gulping the coffee.
I thought it was clearly a jugad that the Lord was playing. He was trusting the P2P platform rather too much.
I didn’t say much.
So Lord Chitragupta thought for a while and said. “Well, Dr Modak, I would like you to be my peer in the pilot implementation of P2P trading”.
He closed his eyes and said
“I am now bestowing you a divine power that will enable you to see the stock of paap and punya of a person. This stock will be shown to you in the form of an aura. More is the net stock of P-units (commodity) with a person, larger will be the diameter of the aura and its brightness. You will be able see this aura behind the face of every person you will see”
He said “Tathastu” (blessing me) and disappeared.
A few days later, I was in a meeting chaired by a prominent political leader. The members to the committee came from varied backgrounds representing scientists, bureaucrats, bankers, consultants, activists etc. I could see that each committee member had varying diameters of the aura of the P-units behind their faces. The most prominent aura, one with a large diameter and most luminous, was that of the politician!”
Oh! I understood then that Lord Chitraguptas P2P platform is already operational. The “trading” had begun.
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