UN carbon credit program useless

Billions of pounds are being wasted in paying industries in developing countries to reduce climate change emissions, according to two analyses of the UN’s carbon offsetting programme.

Leading academics and watchdog groups allege that the UN’s main offset fund is being routinely abused by chemical, wind, gas and hydro companies who are claiming emission reduction credits for projects that should not qualify. The result is that no genuine pollution cuts are being made, undermining assurances by the UK government and others that carbon markets are dramatically reducing greenhouse gases, the researchers say.

The researchers found that most of the projects claiming carbon credits would have been built anyway, something which directly contradicts the goals of the program, which are that the projects would not have happened without the credits.

“Traders are finding ways of gaining credits that they would never have had before. You will never know accurately, but rich countries are clearly overpaying by a massive amount,” said Victor.

Yet another apparently good idea destroyed by the “magic of the marketplace.” Sounds like the opportunities for corruption and kickbacks are massive here too.

Carbon credits will only work when they are legally enforceable and monitored by an international organization with the power to prosecute those violate or try to evade the rules. Period. Otherwise the system will continue to be gamed and will accomplish little if anything in the way of real carbon reduction.

The “marketplace” can not and will not self-regulate and do the ethical thing. This has been rather conclusively proven by the collapse of Enron and the current mortgage and credit debacles.


  1. I for one have never expected the corporate world to save the planet, I expected them to milk the situation as they always do. Historic evidence shows you that they have always and still abuse humans across the world in sweatshops, and in third world countries it is the developed corporate world that rip the planet apart and abuse the work forces in their greed for ever greater profit in the poorer countries rich in resources, that in itself is a contradiction that portays the system, a poor country rich in resources!! Think of Namibia and the diamond fields where the workers are no more than slaves and De Beers have rented an area the size of Wales since the end of the first world war for the princely sum of £134 per year but can’t even build toilets for the all male black workforce. That’s the sort of people that you are expecting to save the planet. We have failed to control the beast and now beast controls us. The only way is for these institutions to be taken over by the people who work in then in conjuction with those that need their produce. To expect the governments that rely on and are owned by the corporate beast to try to tame the beast is some kind of illusion.

  2. Capitalism only works when under the control of a government with the power to regulate it. The globalized “capitalism” we have today is not really capitalism at all– it’s anarchy, an economic wild west where the quickest gun survives and the rest of us are at their mercy. This may be consistent with Ayn Rand, but Adam Smith would be having a cow.

    Even Keynes never anticipated that the economy would exceed the reach of a national government. Either we fight globalization, or we accept that we need a world government to regulate it. Or we surrender the concept of capitalism in favor of the neo-feudal developments we see today.

    Corruption is not a sign of capitalism, it’s a sign of ineffective government– and it can occur in any system, capitalism or otherwise.

  3. Capitalism is corruption, one expects to put in £1 and take out £2, somebody has to be the loser, unless we use creative accounting, which the corporate capital world is a leader.

  4. I would suggest, then, that the Marxist systems of the world, past and present (including Cuba), have been riddled with capitalism. That’s some irony. And I thought they were just ineffective.

  5. Sorry, that came out more sarcastic than I meant it (and there’s no “unpost” button). My point is, corruption occurs even in the absence of a capitalist system– unless you believe that buying a politician or judge is part of capitalism. Personally, I see capitalism (a la Adam Smith, not Ayn Rand) as the system which channels and controls the natural human urge to buy what we need and sell what we have. Thus a system without control is not capitalist at all, its anarchical.

    Capitalism as explained by Smith has a strong moral component. There are those who seek to exploit others, and the central government must be strong enough to counter their efforts. In today’s economy, there IS no central government, hence no control.

    But there have been exploiters at least since the dawn of history, long before money was invented. Marxism didn’t stamp them out (in some cases, it made them stronger). Various systems since the dawn of history have tried to eliminate or counteract those exploiters, from the founding of Israel (under the Judges, before the monarchy) to Athenian democracy to the arguably benign Ashokan kingdom. Those efforts and others have had temporary success, but ultimately failed.

    The battle against exploitation, regardless of the system, never ends.

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