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Earth Government

Countries Gaming Carbon Offsets May Have Dramatically Increased Emissions 158

schwit1 writes: Abuse of the carbon offset system may have caused emissions to increase by as much as 600 million tons. That's the finding of a new report from the Stockholm Environment Institute, which investigated carbon credits used to offset greenhouse gas emissions under a UN scheme. As one of the co-authors of the report put it, issuing these credits "was like printing money." From the article: "In some projects, chemicals known to warm the climate were created and then destroyed to claim cash. As a result of political horse trading at UN negotiations on climate change, countries like Russia and the Ukraine were allowed to create carbon credits from activities like curbing coal waste fires, or restricting gas emissions from petroleum production. Under the UN scheme, called Joint Implementation, they then were able to sell those credits to the European Union's carbon market. Companies bought the offsets rather than making their own more expensive, emissions cuts. But [the studey] says the vast majority of Russian and Ukrainian credits were in fact, "hot air" — no actual emissions were reduced.
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Countries Gaming Carbon Offsets May Have Dramatically Increased Emissions

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  • No shit ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @12:43PM (#50396265) Homepage

    It's a market. Which means you are guaranteed that people will game the market for their own ends.

    Like all markets, as soon as it exists, someone comes along and says "how can I exploit this for my own profit", and then proceeds to do just that.

    And then you'll get cartels forming to do even more of it. Because humans are greedy and dishonest as group. And have figured out that ion groups they can be even more greedy and dishonest.

    If anybody didn't see this coming with this kind of thing, they're hopelessly naive. When they brought this in people were saying this is exactly what would happen.

    Here's a little rule: All systems which assume humans won't be greedy selfish bastards who will cheat and manipulate the system for their own gain, are systems which are doomed to fail because they stupidly ignore human nature.

    That covers all ism's ... economic, political, religious ... if your ism says "at their core humans are nice and friendly and play by the rules" ... your ism is full of crap.

    This was doomed to have this outcome from the very beginning.

    • Re:No shit ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @12:55PM (#50396379)

      I had people telling me I was crazy for saying exactly what you said. I was called a 'republican shill'. But basically if you create imbalances in the market like this people *will* exploit it. There is money involved. I have seen people cheat to get a 30 cent toy. What makes people think they would not game it for millions?

      • I was called a 'republican shill'

        That's me baby, a Republican shill ... OMG, I've been found out.

        Now where did I leave my Stormtrumper helmet?

    • Markets work fine if properly regulated. The problem in this situation was the lack of regulation, and indeed outright corruption. No system will work properly in such an environment.

      • by tsotha ( 720379 )

        I'm not sure if this kind of transnational market can ever be properly regulated, since that would involve changing the idea of what constitutes sovereignty in every single country.

        That's not unique to carbon offset schemes, either. Even if you went with a straight carbon tax governments would find ways to subsidize critical industries so the tax didn't actually reduce carbon emissions.

    • If anybody didn't see this coming with this kind of thing, they're hopelessly naive. When they brought this in people were saying this is exactly what would happen.

      Doubly so since this was a United Nations scheme.

      Here's an idea, let these same people, the United Nations, come up with an unpublished scheme for nuclear weapons inspections. Oh wait, we're already doing that.

    • by fche ( 36607 )

      "It's a market."

      Not really. There is no product, no scarcity, no value, it's basically monopoly money.

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      In this case it likely happened before the market even existed. The powers that be and their corporate puppetmasters had the laws written to be exploitable.

      This is no different than ACA. As soon as single-payer was taken off the table (behind closed doors and without much fight), instead of a national healthcare system we now have the same crap service and corrupt system that everyone has to pay for directly or through taxes.

      Those with real power are smart enough to see the writing on the wall and the e

      • In this case it likely happened before the market even existed. The powers that be and their corporate puppetmasters had the laws written to be exploitable.

        News flash, if you permit any amount of trading, on any basis, that's exploitation. The point is to get everyone to reduce emissions, not to rubber-stamp some emissions. Well, that is, that should be the point. But the point was actually to look busy while continuing business as usual.

        Households in California have reduced their water use. More and more vineyards are going in, and few of them are dry-farmed. But almonds are using more water than ever, and fracking uses a shitload of water...

    • How is this a market? It's a state mandated exchange like Obamacare.

    • Re:No shit ... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @03:57PM (#50397759) Journal

      It's why the US Constitution has been so successful for so long, frankly.
      The Founding Fathers presumed that everyone participating in government were scoundrels and went from there.

      (I don't think they anticipated that the US public would be so apathetic for so long that they'd let the scoundrels come to mutual agreements, however....)

    • Here's a little rule: All systems which assume humans won't be greedy selfish bastards who will cheat and manipulate the system for their own gain, are systems which are doomed to fail because they stupidly ignore human nature.

      Well capitalism works because the anticipation is that people will be working towards their own ends.

      I.e. if you grow apples and sell said apples, you have your own interests at heart (i.e. greed) and not necessarily the good of the world, and meanwhile somebody else gets fed.

      That is opposed to, for example, communism which assumes that everybody will continue working towards "the greater good" just because it feels good to do so. Or socialism where it's assumed that the government hands out resources equal

  • by AntronArgaiv ( 4043705 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @12:44PM (#50396273)

    Russia and Ukraine, engaging in financial and environmental fraud? That's unpossible.

  • People are making money. The system is working exactly as designed. Corruption and deceit is rewarded, as always.

  • Yes but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Wealth was redistributed from wealthy to poor countries, and that's really the point of all this right?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anybody with two brain cells to rub together should have recognized this whole game as a giant scam. Just another way for folks to game the system to make scads of money (Cue the Dire Straits earwig). And I seem to remember that the Inventor of the Internet was involved in setting all this up.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @12:50PM (#50396329)

    then inevitably that something will be counterfeited.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @12:58PM (#50396405)

    Enron for one in case anyone is dumb enough to defend the concept. Don't be that guy. Let it die.

    Also our increasingly chubby ex vice president. Happily from what I understand the 2008 credit crash killed most of his machinations.

    If any of you are wondering why the wind went out of the sails of this issue... The "Bell" tolled for it and it went into the compost bin of history.

    I am a big fan of environmental reform... I just want it to be REAL and EFFECTIVE... not a fucking scam to enrich assholes or get politicians elected.

    If you care about your petty political parties more than the environment than you don't care about the environment in the first place.

    Real change is going to involve china and india and all the other developing countries that are going to come right after them. One after the other. That is going to require a technological change. Not carbon credits. Just cold hard barrel of a loaded gun with the hammer cocked pressed against a temple... truth. This isn't something you solve by passing a law.

    The problem was created by a technological change. Without coal and fossil fuel energy sources there would be no problem. The industrial revolution created a problem.

    Technology can solve problems technology creates.

    • Actually, this is just confirmation that carbon credits BETWEEN COUNTRIES is a bad idea, which has pretty much been proven to be true decades ago.l

      This is not anything against carbon credits WITHIN a single government - as long as you can't trade them to those outside the government.

      That idea continues to be a good one.

      Note, states count as government if the carbon credits can be traded across state lines and the other state does not follow the same rules.

      To my knowledge, every single abuse has come abo

      • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @01:33PM (#50396697)

        The carbon credits even within countries is a joke because it doesn't operate at a ZERO credit basis.

        That is... you should start...everyone... at ZERO credits.

        That is never how it is done. Big polluting industries start out with LOTS and everyone else starts out with nothing.

        This grandfathers in polluters while fucking over competitors.

        And you say you don't like carbon credits between countries, BUT if you don't assess the carbon cost of imports than you can export pollution by exporting manufacturing.

        You don't solve this without a technological change that makes coal ACTUALLY less economical. Not more economical if you lie and cook the books and make shit up.

        And how do you know if wind and solar is cheaper?... when china and india prefer it to coal. If they prefer coal... then coal is cheaper. Count on it.

        • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @02:57PM (#50397383) Homepage Journal

          And how do you know if wind and solar is cheaper?... when china and india prefer it to coal. If they prefer coal... then coal is cheaper. Count on it.

          China and India are installing every energy production method going. Coal, Natural Gas, nuclear, hydro, solar, and wind. That's not even a complete list.

          Coal is only cheaper if you don't count external costs. Right now China's setting itself up for a healthcare holocaust, especially if you consider it's air pollution. For example, simply breathing Beijing air is equivalent to smoking 21 cigarettes a day.

          But right now China is all about economic growth *NOW*. I also wonder if there's a consiparcy theory out there that the pollution is deliberate - aimed at killing off most of their Seniors early before the lack of young people gets them into trouble.

          Basically the same 'freakanomics' that showed that smokers were cheaper. At least if they were low/middle educated - on average they'd die shortly after retirement, for not much more in the way of end of life costs. So fewer pension payments and less medical care was required, even if the 'sharp end' came sooner.

          For rich/educated types - they tend to not retire at 65, but keep working, so having them live longer was profitable. Ideally you'd get your educated types(doctors, professors, and such) to not smoke, but have all your factory workers do so.

          • The "externals" can't be accurately counted or evaluated. And they don't show up on accounting sheets.

            When I said "X is cheaper" I was talking about "money"

            Coal... is CHEAPER... in MONEY.

            The term "externals" is what you say when you want something to be more expensive but can't actually cite any of it with any clarity.

            • Externalities are usually hard to quantify. That doesn't mean they don't exist.

              We could come up with some estimates of the economic impact of increased carbon dioxide. They'd vary a lot, but we could adopt some sort of compromise that most people who know enough about the problem would accept. Then we've quantified the cost of CO2, and we can put a dollar value on the harm it does. It'll be a very fuzzy calculation. For coal power plants, we can get a fairly accurate estimate of the difference in he

              • The health costs are the result of carbon monoxide and surfer dioxide... not carbon dioxide.

                A modern coal plant burns hotter thus removing carbon monoxide by having a more complete combustion and the sulfur dioxide is filtered out.

                As to the external cost of CO2 from coal power plants? That is highly speculative at best and thus associating a cost on it at all is just as speculative.

                It could be a very large scary number... or nothing.

                what is more, the mere fact that the geoengineering concepts have been reje

            • The "externals" can't be accurately counted or evaluated. And they don't show up on accounting sheets.

              It depends. How accurate do you demand it be?
              deaths per TWH by energy source [nextbigfuture.com]
              Health effects [sourcewatch.org]

              And they show up in accounting sheets - just not those of the originator. They show up in the accounting sheets of healthcare organizations. Life Insurance organizations. Building maintenance(back when acid rain was even dissolving them). Etc...

              The term "externals" is what you say when you want something to be more expensive but can't actually cite any of it with any clarity.

              No, it's more like I don't want to write a book. I can, using completely open sources, peg an average 'per mWh' external expense to coal. It might not be accurate down to

              • Hmmm... Your sources don't speak of money they speak of death and health issues.

                As to whether X watts of coal lead to Y healthcare costs... that is entirely arbitrary. You have no means of associating a clear figure one way or the other.

                As such you can't attribute a given number to coal power generation.

                What is more, most of the issues with coal are caused by carbon monoxide and surfer dioxide.

                Not CO2.

                To my knowledge, if you removed both those from the coal emissions which modern coal plants can do... then

                • Sure, but government agencies assign dollar values to lives all the time, though they do vary. DOT's value is lower, for example, than the FAA's.

                  You're still stuck trying for too much accuracy. Ballpark is enough for this sort of stuff, then you adjust as science clarifies or the situation changes. IE the actual damages from X could be estimated to be $8-12. Nailing it down closer is less important, at least in the short term, than the fact that charging $10 for the damage is 'fairer' then charging them

                  • You'd have to show an actual causation to assign a cost. At best you have weak correlation.

                    As to being stuck trying to get too much accuracy. You're using the wrong words.

                    You mean I'm trying to get too much precision.

                    Accuracy is whether something is correct or not.

                    Precision is how many decimal places you can cite your figures to.

                    I am trying to ascertain accuracy however that is a question of whether your position is valid AT ALL not merely how precisely you can cite a figure.

                    As to some studies where you say

                    • You're right on precision vs accuracy. Result of 'training' to try to keep me from using complex words too much.

                      No, saying the link between coal power and deaths/illnessess is 'weak correlation' is like denying global warming. There's plenty of proof sufficient to say that the burning of coal for power causes pollution that lowers the quality and quantity of life for those around it. It's accurate. It's precision can be in question - which is why high end estimates are double that of the low end, but th

                    • That someone that breaths coal smoke will have respiratory issues is obvious.

                      You are very correct that this is very similar to the AGW argument.

                      Yes... in a given context you can show X.

                      However that doesn't mean you can show some wider consequence is specifically the result of the coal smoke.

                      Let us say I operate a coal power plant. Let us say furthermore that I use filters on my stacks and the latest technology. My smoke is almost entirely water vapor and CO2.

                      Now... lets say a man in the neighboring town get

                    • Now... lets say a man in the neighboring town gets lung cancer.

                      Why are you going after this strawman? I've already said that, being able to tie any one case of cancer/illness/death to any one polluter is impossible, but ultimately irrelevant. You can reasonably prove that without your powerplant there would have been 10 deaths from lung cancer, but statistically speaking, your plant is causing 1 case of ultimately fatal lung cancer a year.

                      Your notion is to institute some assumed damages on every bit of emissions and put this money into some kind of state fund and then when people get cancer they draw upon that fund.

                      Not exactly, but it's reasonably close.

                      So... no one is actually breaking that smoke in until it has diluted to such an extent that the ability to cause respriatory issues is no longer even remotely credible.

                      Impossible unless you set up on the moon or something. California is getting a decent perc

                    • What you have are statistics where countries that have lots of power plants have a certain rate of lung cancer and countries with none have a lower rate.

                      That's far from the only source for such statistics.

                      That's literally your methodology. And its fallacious.

                      You're still assuming, thus making an ass of yourself. It's not even a majority of the method for determining that pollution from coal power causes negative health effects.

                      The reality is that it is a great deal more complicated than that. The power plants obviously are not dangerous to people in and of themselves.

                      Never been in one, I take it? Steam explosions are a killer, though fortunately rather rare today in developed countries.

                      It is rather the emissions. And the emissions are only dangerous if you breath them in a given concentration over a given period of time. And even then whether or not you develop cancer at all is a probability and not a certainty.

                      Again, you're carefully explaining something that I already know. I'll explain it to you again: I know this and state that, because we can statistically determine

                    • On that basis you can't tax me. You need CAUSATION.

                      Ah, and it comes out. You're coal power. Gotcha. No, I don't need 'causation' to tax you, no more than Uncle Sam needs causation to tax my income.

                      On that basis you can't tax me. You need CAUSATION.

                      Let's see. We have studies that:
                      1. Show emissions from coal power plants. We know what they are, quantities, etc...
                      2. Show air samples in communities around said plants containing elevated amounts of said emissions.
                      3. Show elevated amounts of illness

                      At this point, yeah, it could still be considered correlation. However, that's not all
                      4. Laboratory tests [tandfonline.com] o

                    • What you're trying to do is ASSUME my damage from my emissions... particularly to cancer rates etc which you can't know and you clearly don't care. You just want to level a fine for emitting certain gases.

                      Don't forget the particulates.

                      No, you're reaching the same as cigarette executives. I acknowledge that any levies for damages has to be estimated. As the amounts go up, eventually yes, it does become possible to make closer estimates.

                      But I maintain that charging something close to the damages is better than charging nothing in most cases.

                      But you're not internalizing costs if you do that. You're just leveling a fine for X emissions. You can show that clearly. You can say "you emitted X amount of Y chemical"... and we have a tax of Z for every X of Y chemical emitted. Done.

                      Actually, taxing it is a classic method of internalizing costs. I maintain that calling it a 'fine' is a misnomer. It's a fee, a tax. The difference is subtle, but imp

                    • You don't understand what accuracy, precision, causation, or correlation means.

                      As such you really can't have this discussion.

                      Here is your point. You want a TAX for emissions. You are not internalizing anything. You're leveling a tax.

                      You want to call you tax "internalizing"... fine. I'm going to ignore any further use of that term because given that you don't know the required concepts to make the statement you can't use that term. So I'm going to just read that as 'taxing".

                      Which again is fine. You can tax a

                    • You don't understand what accuracy, precision, causation, or correlation means.

                      Sure I do. You just don't like it. Also, personal attack. To me, at least, that means that you lack a suitable argument, thus must resort to fallacies.

                      Now, as I've said earlier, nobody's perfect, and I'm certainly no exception. So I take the occasional one in stride.

                      As such you really can't have this discussion.

                      And you probably shouldn't be because besides not knowing what the above words mean, you don't know what logical fallacies are. Of course, here I'm just mirroring your statements because that's the way I tend to be. We're having it, obviou

                    • For the sake of argument... lets say you're wrong.

                      For the sake of argument... lets say you don't know you're wrong.

                      For the sake of argument... how would I communicate that point to you if you're wrong, don't know it, think you're right, and are too pigheaded to realize it?

                      Just theoretically... how would I "win" this argument in any other way besides declaring you an idiot and leaving to do something else?

                      My predictions for your response:

                      1. I think you're not going to understand what "for the sake of argumen

                    • For the sake of argument... how would I communicate that point to you if you're wrong, don't know it, think you're right, and are too pigheaded to realize it?

                      To quote Bill Nye from a creationist debate: "Evidence". His opponent, the creationist, said "Nothing" given the same question. So I'll ask you: What would it take to convince you of the same?

                      In this case, you'd either need to provide credible sources that show that coal power plant pollution doesn't cause illness, but keep in mind that I've posted scientific studies (scholar.google.com and academic credentials are lovely for accessing studies).

                      Evidence has been generally lacking in your rebuttals, which

    • Technology can solve problems technology creates.

      You won't see this happen until someone figures out how to profit off the solution.

    • Well, that's what happens when policies are written by politicians and lobbyists. Engineers and scientists would do a much better job.

      • you're still thinking like a politician... you're thinking in terms of laws and regulations? What do engineers or scientists care for that shit?

        The engineers are too busy making things that WORK and the scientists are too busy unraveling the mysteries of the natural world.

        Laws? *giggles*

        No. You solve the issue by fixing the technological problem that creates it. Then the law becomes irrelevant because people will just do the right thing because it is superior.

        Technology can solve any problem technology crea

  • I came here expecting a discussion about carbon emissions resulting from NVIDIA cards.

    • Carbon credits and Bitcoin mining are both Ponzi schemes?

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @01:05PM (#50396459)

    The only way to reduce pollution for a world population raising its standard of living is to change energy sources; carbon credits and cap & trade are nonsense that only promote fraud, even within europe their have been billions of euros of known fraud before this news item

    • Have to agree.

      Carbon sinks and carbon reductions are generally the wrong choice, in that you can run the plant clean while the inspectors are there and run it dirty the rest of the time.

      What works is moving off of fossil fuels entirely, by putting more cash into actual built alternative energy like cheaper wind and solar that are verified and measured.

      Crush the subsidies and exemptions for fossil fuels, and work on the capital need for new energy systems like wind and solar (10 year low cost loans at 1 perc

  • They would do that? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @01:15PM (#50396555)
    I'm shocked and amazed. I'm also sarcastic.
  • Free Market? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @01:23PM (#50396619)
    A free market system with no regulation was gamed by the participants?

    I'm SHOCKED, SHOCKED I tell you!
  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @01:34PM (#50396713) Journal

    "Cash for Clunkers". It made the absolute most out the broken window fallacy. As long as pollution is profitable, there will always be plenty to spread around.

  • this reminds me of cobra-killing incentives in India.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is known as the cobra effect, named after the results of British occupation of India. The British did not like how many cobras were in India. They offered to pay Indians a bounty per dead cobra. Indians bred cobras and killed them. Sometimes they escaped. Eventually they were all let free once the program ended. The net result was the British paid for cobras all the while the population of them increased.

    In France they paid for rats. Same effect.

    This was hundreds of years ago. Why has nobody ye

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      They did that in Alberta and got rid of rats entirely.

      I think you're confusing the difference between Some People Lie and All People Lie.

      Make a measurement that actually works, not one based on promises.

    • This was hundreds of years ago. Why has nobody yet learned that government intervention with the free market results in disaster?

      Because reducing government intervention in the free market is unprofitable for government/politicians.

  • My take on things, just about everywhere it happens, the "War on _________" creates more of the __________

    War on Poverty creates more poor people.
    War on Drugs creates more drugs
    War on Islamists wackos creates more Islamic Wackos

    So, why does it surprise people that we create the very thing we wish to avoid?

    • Maybe soee people actually aren't trying to avoid it. Don't run. We are your friends. [youtube.com]
    • So, why does it surprise people that we create the very thing we wish to avoid?

      Because of the eternal war on dumb stuff.

    • As far as I could tell from looking at the stats, the War on Poverty worked fairly well. There's a real contrast between it and the War on Terror.

      Poverty is objectively measurable, and we have a clear goal. Terror is almost completely unmeasurable, and the goal(s) are incredibly fuzzy. Nobody wants poverty, and they can't use poverty to get things they want. Terrorists want what they can accomplish through terror. It's possible to figure out what reduces poverty, and pretty well impossible to tell i

  • Much lying about what the books really say.

    Verify, then trust.

  • It only "failed" because everyone is not doing it. The corruption and system gaming will magically go away when everyone is forced into this wonderful scheme. After all, without everyone being forced into the game, there'll still be cash out there that is not available for hoovering up into the right pockets.

  • People told them this would happen when they came up with the system. Government gets gamed every time is makes winners and losers, fishing quota's, water quota's etc when you use a ratio from previous use and allow them to be sold somebody will game it.

    Want less emissions, make cheap energy. Want to make lots of cheap energy it's call fission the tech was commercialized 50 years ago. Build some plants the use tech that is not 40+ years old and stop trying to regulate it into the ground (anything less ra

  • I have been posting about the fact that China is gaming this pretty badly, and the far left just ignores this.
    That is why the west desperately needs to put in a tax on ALL GOODS (local and imported) based on where the item and parts come from.
    However, we need to make sure of what the actual CO2 is. Since so many nations, esp. the worst one being China, are gaming this, we need hourly sat photos over the planet to check how much is generated and absorbed in all areas. OCO2 is just one sat. OCO3 will be ad
    • I have been posting about the fact that China is gaming this pretty badly, and the far left just ignores this.

      You wouldn't know the far left if it were up your ass kicking field goals.

    • Speaking as a far leftist (by US standards), we really should have and enforce carbon tariffs, so that companies can't just outsource their worst operations to China and other places. We should do the same with pollution, but that's harder, and we need to make the tariffs demonstrably fair for the WTO. I, personally, regard not having such a tariff as subsidizing China, and I'd really rather not do that.

      • THANK YOU.

        Nothing frustrates me more than when I hear the far left say that we should allow China to continue on their path. The right will scream that we are letting them get away with murder (of course, they do not mean it literally, but it is ), however, they refuse to put a tax on goods even though any company can easily get out of it: SImply have the parts manufactured in clean states/nations.

        Now, to be honest, we should not do a tariff (which is a tax on goods that move in/out of a nation/state).
  • by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @02:23PM (#50397133)

    Where you pay someone else to diet for you and then wonder why you don't lose weight.

  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2015 @03:04PM (#50397423)

    This article singles out Russia and Ukraine, but a larger issue is CFC-23, a nasty greenhouse gas. It's a chemical byproduct which Chinese and Indian companies are deliberately producing in order to destroy, because the cause the credits for destroying the byproduct are worth five times the value of stuff they're nominally trying to make.

    The article mentions this, but doesn't mention that CFC-23 fraud supplies HALF of all the carbon emissions credits sold on the European market.

    The cheating problem is a big part of why I favor a straight up carbon tax rather than trying to get fancy with incentives and credits. Place a flat tax per ton CO2e on companies which generate or import fossil fuels or CFCs. They will pass this cost on to customers, making goods that require lots of fossil fuels cost more, so the market will determine which emissions reductions strategies are most cost-effective. You can return the tax money to the people via lower income or payroll taxes, use it to reduce the deficit, or use it to pay for green infrastructure, I don't care. One more element is needed to make this work: you need import tariffs on manufactured goods coming in from countries that don't have a comparable carbon tax. Otherwise countries that "offshore" their emissions will have an advantage.

    In addition to being simpler and harder to cheat, this system is preferable from a "big gubmint is evil" perspective. Conservatives don't want a massive government bureaucracy inspecting every element of the supply chain, making sure the incentives are properly spent and the credits fairly earned, and neither do I. I just want to use their worst enemy, taxes, to make their best friend, capitalism, work to help the planet. Put a green thumb on Adam Smith's invisible hand.

    I'm a free-market environmentalist. I say we need to stop hoping that greed will go away, or worse pretending it doesn't exist, and start using it as a tool.

  • An artificial market gives rise to bogus trading to game the system and milk it for competitive advantage. A cautionary tale for all believers in social Lysenkoism.

  • It was either a foolish and naive idea to have such a system, or a deliberate plan by groups that saw it as an opportunity to increase their wealth. The only thing that can be trusted to reduce emissions of CO2 is the invention of better technologies that are more profitable to run and distorting markets to make new technologies more profitable is not the way to do it. The only solution is to invest in applied science and roll it out as fast as possible once it is proven viable. i.e. Fusion energy, becaus
  • Reminds me of http://codeoffsets.com/ [codeoffsets.com]

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