Financial Times: “Carbon credits” projects don’t yield much – if any – benefit

Why, imagine that!

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.

The growing political salience of environmental politics has sparked a “green gold rush”, which has seen a dramatic expansion in the number of businesses offering both companies and individuals the chance to go “carbon neutral”, offsetting their own energy use by buying carbon credits that cancel out their contribution to global warming.

The burgeoning regulated market for carbon credits is expected to more than double in size to about $68.2bn by 2010, with the unregulated voluntary sector rising to $4bn in the same period.

The FT investigation found:

â–  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.

â–  Brokers providing services of questionable or no value.

â–  A shortage of verification, making it difficult for buyers to assess the true value of carbon credits.

â–  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.

Francis Sullivan, environment adviser at HSBC, the UK’s biggest bank that went carbon-neutral in 2005, said he found “serious credibility concerns” in the offsetting market after evaluating it for several months.

Businessweek wrote about carbon assets last month and how some of the ‘deals don’t deliver.’

Does this really surprise any of us? Will we see a massive wave of outrage from the ‘carbon credit’ kings like Al Gore and John Edwards? Nope. Why? Because, despite their deep envolvement with enviro-wacko groups and corporations and the fact that it’s hard to believe they didn’t/don’t see this sort of thing happening while they were pushing the ‘feel good’ aspect of buying ‘carbon credits’, to their supporters Gore and Edwards were doing the ‘right thing’ – and that means they won’t have to explain anything.

Let’s also not forget that Gore himself is cleaning up nicely in the carbon offsets profit department.

This is just another in a long list of examples of how people who are supposedly so ‘concerned’ about the environment are only concerned enough about it to the point it lines their pockets and garners them attention and accolades – and votes, while at the same time telling others who don’t have the deep pockets it takes to buy ‘carbon credits’ to ‘reduce’ their ‘carbon footprint.’

Remember, to folks like Gore and Edwards, it’s not really about doing the right thing (“the right thing” as defined by gw alarmists), but appearing to do the ‘right thing.’

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