Carbon Credit Watch

Carbon Credit Watch: Researchers say it may be time to scrap carbon markets

(January 26, 2011) As the criticisms of carbon markets continue to mount, some researchers are beginning to look for alternatives to the controversial market. Read that and other stories in our carbon market roundup.

From Reuters AlterNet, January 24, 2011, “World ponders alternatives to troubled carbon market”

With the EU ETS closed, a growing group of researchers and environmental activists say taxing carbon offers a fairer, more transparent and less corruptible way of limiting emissions.

A carbon-added tax (CAT) could be applied to imports, placing the financial burden on the end users of products. In contrast to carbon trading, it would spread the burden wider, as well as preventing companies from lobbying for free carbon credits and market speculators profiting from price fluctuations, says Charles Sampford, director of the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law at Australia’s Griffith University

“The system is ungovernable, from start to finish,” says Daphne Wysham, a fellow at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies and founder of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network. “We do not have the capacity to monitor every polluter and every timber thief and every derivatives trader in every part of the globe, and yet we are opening up markets to trading in invisible gases that will involve these.”

To that end, carbon taxes and carbon trading can be used side by side, argues Toru Kubo, head of the Asian Development Bank’s carbon market programme, pointing to Sweden and Denmark, which levy taxes on carbon emissions from fuel, light industry and agriculture while participating in the European trading scheme.

Read the full story here. [PDFver here]

From The Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2011, “Update: EU bans use of most polluting gases for carbon offset”

European governments agreed Friday to ban from May 2013 the use of certain polluting gases, including HFC 23 and Nitrous Oxide, as offsets for carbon dioxide credits within the European Union’s carbon market, in an effort to restore credibility after scandals last year.

The ban would close loopholes exploited by companies that have reduced the effectiveness of the CO2 credits mechanism.

“These projects raise concerns relating to their environmental integrity, value-for-money and geographical distribution,” said Connie Hedegaard, commissioner for climate action.

Read the full story here.

From Reuters, January 20, 2011, “Timeline-Scandals in the EU carbon market”

Below is a timeline of the main events and EU measures to counter fraud and other problems that have continually plagued the carbon market.

Read the full story here. [PDFver here]

From All Headline News, January 20, 2011,”European Commission halts carbon trading for one week”

According to Europol, carbon trading crime groups may have possibly cornered 90 percent of all market activities in some European nations in 2009, particularly in Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Holland. The amount they have pilfered may have reached $6.7 billion (EUR 5 billion).

Europol said carbon allowances are prone to fraud because of their high value, intangibility and ability to be easily shifted among different nations.

According to a carbon trading monitor, instead of actually cutting emissions, companies have predominantly bought carbon credits from India and China. 84 percent of all offsets in 2008-09 used in the EU Emissions trading Scheme were purchased from New Delhi and Beijing.

Read the full story here.

Read the previous media round up here.

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