Aside from Al Gore’s carbon offset green scheme, there is another environmental privilege method used that is said to help people reduce their carbon emissions: Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). RECs work in a similar fashion to carbon offsets except they tend to involve financing the construction of renewable energy projects like solar plants and wind farms or even replacing a boiler with new one that is more energy efficient. This as opposed to carbon offsets that typically conduct reforestation or grassland restoration.
However, according to Bloomberg, companies are starting to back away from this practice due to reports stating that the claims of credit programs geared to reduce greenhouse carbon emissions are nothing more than hot air.
According to Greenhouse Gas Institute (GGI) executive director Michael Gillenwater, a number of large corporations are reducing their involvement in green credit markets mainly because it has been determined that they have little effect on how much renewable energy is generated. REC’s were introduced during the late 1990’s as a means of companies being able to buy green energy off of a power grid. In theory, the money they invest in REC’s flows through a variety of sources to end up financing solar or hydroelectric power plants or wind farms that would not have usually been built. As a result, companies can claim they reduced their carbon output.
The reality, however, is completely different. Bloomberg states that GGI’s Michael Gillenwater did two different studies on REC’s and the return on investment from them was so minor that it did not inspire the construction of any renewable energy sources. As a result, companies who used to participate in REC markets no longer do so and instead are opting to implement environmentally-friendly power sources at their existing facilities.
Like recycling, all carbon credit programs do is make people feel good. They give people a false sense that they are doing something to help the environment due to the guilt associated with their wealth and success. Carbon credit markets are the environmentalist movement’s answer to the Catholic Church’s system of privileges whereby someone could give large amounts of money to the church in order to attain salvation. The church ended this practice centuries ago but, not surprisingly, revived it recently. Obviously taking from the example of how much money Al Gore makes absolving people from the sin of their carbon footprint.