Monday, April 26, 2010

Probe finds widespread fraud in carbon offsets

As much as 75 percent of the $700 million market for carbon offsets may involve fraud, The Christian Science Monitor and New England Center for Investigative Reporting report in a joint investigation. "Carbon offsets are the environmental equivalent of financial derivatives: complex, unregulated, unchecked and – in many cases – not worth their price," Doug Struck writes. Not just your average working class individuals have been fooled by the schemes. The Vatican purchased carbon offsets to balance its greenhouse-gas emissions, but none of the "Vatican Forest" planned for an Hungarian village by eco-restoration firm KlimaFa has been planted.

People who purchase the offsets are buying into projects that are never completed or paying for ones that would have been done anyway, the investigation found. Their purchases feed middlemen and promoters seeking profits from green schemes that range from selling protection for existing trees to the promise of planting new ones that never thrive, Struck writes. "In some cases, the offsets have consequences that their purchasers never foresaw, such as erecting windmills that force poor people off their farms." (Read more)

Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute has also posted at Q&A with NECIR Director Joe Bergantino about the project.

1 comment:

steve frisch said...

This just goes to show why we need a national policy and process to register and regulate carbon projects. The idea--creating a market based mechanism to develop the best carbon capture and storage projects--still holds true. We just need to ensure that the projects are real.