Carbon Credit Scam? U.N. Board Investigates Dubious Greenhouse-Gas Offsets

Are chemical companies scamming a program that credits them for reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions? A U.N. board is investigations allegations from environmentalists. An obscure U.N. board that oversees a $2.7 billion market intended to cut heat-trapping gases has agreed to take steps that could lead to it eventually reining in what European and U.S. environmentalists are calling a huge scam.

At a meeting this week that ended Friday, the executive board of the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism said that five chemical plants in China would no longer qualify for funding as so-called carbon offset credits until the environmentalists' claims can be further investigated.

The "CDM" credits have been widely used in the carbon trading markets of the European Union, Japan and other nations that signed onto the 1997 Kyoto Protocol requiring mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases.

Rather than cut their own carbon emissions, industrialized nations can buy the credits which then pay developing countries to cut their greenhouse gases instead.

Investigation Underway

But environmentalists say rich nations could be wasting billions of dollars on what some are calling "perverse financial incentives," because some of the largest projects funded by the U.N.-managed CDM are a golden goose for chemical makers without making meaningful cuts in emissions.

The CDM executive board, based in Bonn, Germany, has asked for a decades' worth of data on the gases from those five plants in China to study whether the system was manipulated.

The controversy revolves around the apparent conflict between the Kyoto climate treaty and another U.N. treaty, the 1987 Montreal Protocol for repairing the Earth's fragile ozone layer.

The money from the CDM-authorized fund goes to pay the carbon offset credits claimed by more than 20 chemical makers mostly in China and India, but also in nations such as South Korea, Argentina and Mexico.

'Biggest Environmental Scandal in History'

The chemical makers are paid as much as $100,000 or more for every ton they destroy of a potent greenhouse gas, HFC-23. The price for destroying it is based on its being 11,700 times more powerful as a climate-warming gas than carbon dioxide.

But that gas is a byproduct of an ozone-friendly refrigerant, HCFC-22, which those chemical makers also are paid to produce under the U.N.'s ozone treaty. Environmentalists say there is so much money in getting rid of HFC-23 that the chemical makers are overproducing HCFC-22 to have more of the byproduct to destroy.

"The evidence is overwhelming that manufacturers are creating excess HFC-23 simply to destroy it and earn carbon credits," said Mark Roberts of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a research and advocacy group. "This is the biggest environmental scandal in history and makes an absolute mockery of international efforts to combat climate change.

HCFC-22 is widely used in hair sprays, air conditioners and some refrigerators because it less damaging to the seasonal ozone hole over Antarctica than previous coolants. It has been promoted under the ozone treaty, often considered one of the world's most successful environmental treaties, as a replacement for chloroflourocarbons, or CFCs.


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catski300

Everyone is getting in on making cash. They are doing it the wrong. You can complain or you can take advantage of this government's spending! Medicare............Failing Medicaid..................Failing Social Security.............Failing U.S. Post Office.................Failing Cash For Clunkers..............HUGE FAILURE Govt Run Insurance………..WHAT DO YOU THINK Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac......JUST ANOTHER FAILURE What did you get out of these programs? Probably nothing but you PAID DEARLY for them as well as your grandchildren will. Thanks Uncle Sam for taking a budget of 7 billion in 1940 and ballooning it into almost 12 trillon in 2010. I have set up a place that the poor and middle class in the country can start to get their fair share of the giveaways. It is our turn to have a piece of the action. Just google CASH TEACHER all one word or two...doesn't matter to get started. Click on the very first link and you are there...they are that good! Then you will find the ways to cash in. Go to the STOCKS and the MAKE MONEY ONLINE sections to see things that the corporate fat cats don't want us to know. You want to see how the rich do it...GO THERE

August 21 2010 at 9:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
foxylynx

THE SCAM OF THE CENTURY - I AM BEGINNING TO THINK THE U.S. SHOULD LEAVE THE UN - WHAT HAVE WE GOTTEN LATELY EXCEPT BILLS FOR BILLIONS TO OTHER COUNTRIES - NO WONDER WE ARE SINKING LIKE A ROCK. GLOBAL WARMING - A REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH FROM THE MIDDLE CLASS TO POOR COUNTRIES AND BILLIONAIRES.

August 21 2010 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply