“Some firms are making a killing from schemes designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions while doing little or doing nothing in return.
The market in carbon offsets which allows companied to invest in renewable energy as a way of mitigating their own greenhouse gas emissions – almost doubled in 2006 to $5million, the World Bank said on 2 May 2007.
According to a recent report in the London-based Financial Times, some of that money is going to oil companies that are simply pumping CO2 into oilfields to extract more oil. They would have done this anyway so profits from selling the credits go straight into company coffers with no benefit to new carbon-saving schemes.
Under the Kyoto Protocol almost $5million will be paid to industries that cut emissions of trifluoromethane – a potent greenhouse gas created in the production of refrigerants. The technology required to cut the gases would cost just $100 million install (Nature, Vol 445, p595), raising questions regarding the size of the payout.
(“Upfront”, “Carbon Cash-in”, New Scientist, Vol 2603 12 May 2007 p5)