Rampant Abuse Plagues Carbon Offset Credits

Published September 30, 2011

A cornerstone of proposed global climate agreements, tradable credits for carbon dioxide emissions reductions in Third World nations, is “seriously flawed,” according to a new Nature report.

According to Nature, a diplomatic cable published last month by WikiLeaks reveals that most certified carbon dioxide offset projects in India did not reduce emissions beyond those that would have been occurred anyway. The Indian government knew about this but allowed the projects to be certified anyway, WikiLeaks reports.

Carbon dioxide offset credits are a key component of international cap-and-trade agreements, theoretically allowing industrialized nations to meet their carbon dioxide reduction requirements by purchasing credits from Third World nations that can reduce an equal amount of carbon dioxide emissions – or offset an equal amount of carbon dioxide emissions – at a lower price than can be attained by industrialized nations. The system has been criticized, however, for a lack of oversight, a lack of consistent standards, and rampant fraud and abuse. Without reliable, verifiable carbon dioxide offset results, global climate agreements will have little or no real-world impact, even if human emissions of carbon dioxide are having a substantial impact on global climate.

For more information about the Nature report, go here.