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Industry caught in carbon smokescreen

Financial Times – April 25, 2007

I hope that no one is surprised at this article. It seems like a constant reminder of human greed that someone will take a fairly good idea and create a scam to make money. It seems that no government is immune from corruption as we all read about scams, schemes, and shenanigans in virtually every country with nearly every government. Why would carbon trading be any different?

Companies and individuals rushing to go green have been spending millions on carbon credit projects that yield few if any environmental benefits.

A Financial Times investigation has uncovered widespread failings in the new markets for greenhouse gases, suggesting some organisations are paying for emissions reductions that do not take place. Others are meanwhile making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure and in some cases for clean-ups that they would have made anyway.

  • Widespread instances of people and organisations buying worthless credits that do not yield any reductions in carbon emissions.
  • Industrial companies profiting from doing very little or from gaining carbon credits on the basis of efficiency gains from which they have already benefited substantially.
  • Brokers providing services of questionable or no value.
  • A shortage of verification, making it difficult for buyers to assess the true value of carbon credits.
  • Companies and individuals being charged over the odds for the private purchase of European Union carbon permits that have plummeted in value because they do not result in emissions cuts.

For instance, DuPont, the chemicals company, invites consumers to pay $4 to eliminate a tonne of carbon dioxide from its plant in Kentucky that produces a potent greenhouse gas called HFC-23. But the equipment required to reduce such gases is relatively cheap.

Blue Source, a US offsetting company, invites consumers to offset carbon emissions by investing in enhanced oil recovery, which pumps carbon dioxide into depleted oil wells to bring up the remaining oil. However, Blue Source said that because of the high price of oil, this process was often profitable in itself, meaning operators were making extra revenues from selling carbon credits for burying the carbon.

Read the rest of this article here.

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One Response to “Industry caught in carbon smokescreen”

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