April 22, 2010
Buyers of voluntary carbon credits take note: you might be a victim of environmental fraud. A recent investigation by the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) and the New England Centre for Investigative Reporting (NECIR) found that the burgeoning $700-million market for voluntary carbon credits has been selling credits backed by empty promises rather than tangible environmental benefits.
The investigation discovered that the carbon market has become a haven for middlemen of green schemes “that range from selling protection for existing trees to the promise of planting new ones that never thrive.”
These carbon credits are backed by no rules or regulatory oversight, the report says. The lack of oversight means there is no enforcement of the environmental claims, no reliable way to measure the carbon savings being sold and no guarantee that the planted trees or other projects will ever actually produce their stated claims.
The report notes that critics of the voluntary carbon credit market liken it to a “Wild West” market—riddled with fraud, exaggeration and poorly planned projects. One forest conservationist and investigator for Greenpeace claimed that at least 75 percent of these credits are “garbage.”
The industry is also clouded in secrecy. Ecosystem Marketplace, a U.S.-based non-profit that specializes in providing information and data on environmental markets, says the industry “resembles the Wall Street of the 1800s—with information closely guarded by those who profit from it.”
The investigation by CSM and NECIR provides a disturbing list of cases of deception and lack of accountability in the carbon market. Read the full story here. [PDF]
And, for more analysis of why the carbon markets will always defy regulation and be “a fraudster’s dream come true” see the articles here and here by Probe International.
For more of a policy look at the problems facing the carbon markets, read all of the coverage from Probe International.
Further reading from Probe International:
- Gasping for air: Carbon markets stumble, again
- The great carbon con
- Carbon markets deflating in the wake of Copenhagen
- The state of affairs for carbon
- Breathe of fresh air: banks pull out of carbon market
- The next big scam: carbon dioxide
- Russian Roulette: Russia’s surplus of carbon credits too big of a gamble for some
- Group tracks carbon credit trading and issues warning
- Carbon credit scams add to the growing list of alleged fraud cases
- At what cost are carbon credits funding hydro projects in the developing world
- How Kyoto credit scams work
- Carbon Boondoggles
Further Reading from the CSM and NECIR investigation:
- How the “Vatican Forest” was felled before it grew [PDFver here]
- An offset gone wrong: Green windmills aggrieve Indian farmers [PDFver here]
- Using the cloak of “certification” to market a plantation in Panama [PDFver here]
- Is Dave Matthews’ carbon offsets provider really carbon neutral [PDFver here]
- Australia leads the pursuit of carbon offset scams [PDFver here]
Categories: Carbon Credit Watch
Leave a Reply