(January 21, 2011) Cases of fraud and corruption have plagued carbon markets since their inception more than five years ago. As recent media reports suggest, officials in charge of regulating these markets have failed to keep them clean.
From The Telegraph, January 19, 2011, “European carbon market suspended over fraud fears”
“The suspension (until January 26) follows allegations that 475,000 carbon credits worth €7-million were stolen in a hacking attack on the Czech carbon register. It appears that the intangible allowances were bounced between eastern European countries before disappearing without a trace.”
“This is not the first challenge to the credibility of the €90-billion annual market in carbon allowances…But it has been plagued by fraud, with Europol estimating that carbon trading criminals trying to play the system may have accounted for up to 90 percent of all market activity in some European countries during 2009. Fraudulent traders mainly from Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Holland pocketed an estimated €5bn. Carbon allowances are particularly susceptible to fraud because they are high value, intangible and easily moved between different countries.”
From the New York Times, January 19, 2011, “Close emissions trading system after thefts”
The European Commission suspended trading in greenhouse gas emissions permits on Wednesday for at least a week after the theft of permits worth millions of euros via online attacks.
“[The security breaches] could be a concerted action by fraudsters to get access and steal permits from legitimate accounts to sell on spot markets before the thefts were discovered,” Maria Kokkonen, a spokeswoman for Connie Hedegaard, the Europe’s commissioner for climate action, said.
Although such incidents are negligible in terms of actual market impact, they will over time undermine the credibility of carbon trading as a policy measure to reduce emissions in Europe,” said Kjersti Ulset, a manager at Point Carbon, a company that reports on emissions markets and provides consultancy services.
Europe’s system has had a rocky ride since trading began six years ago, including extreme volatility, tax fraud, recycling of used credits and suspicions of profiteering, in addition to online attacks.
The Guardian UK, January 17, 2011, “Europe must ban flawed carbon credits”
This Friday, the European Commission has a chance to tackle [the lunacy of carbon markets], by banning the use of so-called industrial gas pollution permits in the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
“HFC-23, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, is a by-product of the manufacturing of the refrigerant gas HCFC-22. According a UN assessment panel, it costs 17c to destroy HFC-23 equivalent to a tonne of CO2. Today’s price for that in the EU ETS is €14.4. Another industrial gas underpinning lucrative carbon credits is nitrous oxide (N2O), mainly resulting from adipic acid production, which in turn is used to make nylon.”
“This is not a minor loophole in the EU ETS. In 2008-9, 84% of all the offsets used in the EU ETS were from industrial gas projects in China and India, according to data from the carbon trading think tank Sandbag. Buying this amount of permits—134 million—in the ETS would cost €1.9 billion at today’s prices. The use of offsets was meant to be a safety valve for industries covered by the ETS but campaigners say it is being used far too much.”
Further Reading from Probe International:
- Once again, UN pays polluters with carbon credits
- Carbon Credit fraud discovered in Ukraine
- A Carbon Trading System Draws Environmental Skeptics
- Cement companies in line for €226m windfall after sale of surplus carbon credits
- Murder on the Carbon Express: Interpol Takes On Emissions Fraud
- Conflicts of interest threaten carbon-trading mechanism
- ArcelorMittal Corus Salzgitter US Steel and SSAB top firms in EU profiting most from carbon credit
- Who to blame? UN wants to make auditors of carbon credit projects liable for their work
- Oil palm plantations on peatlands won’t get carbon credits under CDM
- Subsidizing monoculture plantations: Indonesia officials want palm oil farms to receive carbon credits
- Devil is in the (lack of) details: citizens left in the dark on carbon credit schemes
- Paying the polluters: The carbon credit way
- Carbon credit fraud makes its way to Liberia
- Scamming the carbon markets in ten easy steps
- It’s official: global warming solutions will destroy the environment
Categories: Carbon Credit Watch