Russian and Ukranian companies abused carbon offsets to skirt climate treaties

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has released a study revealing an erroneous arrangement where companies were able to acquire tradable carbon credits in order to pay for certain projects in order to skirt treaties geared toward reducing carbon emissions. Politico Europe reports that the carbon trading program created a perverse incentive that resulted in increased, rather than reduced, carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 600 million tons.

The manuscript published in the journal Nature Climate Change states the worst culprits were companies located in Russia and Ukraine. The corrupt carbon trading system created perverse effects where the operators of three chemical plants removed safety measures and increased greenhouse gas production in order to earn more credits.

The program is the result of the Kyoto Protocol that instituted two Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanisms that allowed countries to engender Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) from carbon emission reduction efforts and then transfer them to other countries. While the plan was to encourage climate change alleviation by making it more financially sound, unfortunately, SEI found over 80 percent of the credits were given to projects of dubious credibility.

Former Vice President Al Gore has enriched himself handsomely by owning companies that specialize in carbon offset investments. However, the groundwork for carbon offsetting to end up in the dustbin of history may not be too far off. The SEI study’s findings could spell trouble for carbon offsets at worldwide climate talks in the not so distant future. In light of the fact that they undercut the validity of carbon exchanging plans, a standout amongst the most prominent methods for utilizing business systems to lessen outflows of greenhouse gasses.

Like recycling, carbon offset programs are nothing more than a feel-good measure. They give people a false sense that the carbon markets people buy into are doing something to help the environment due to the guilt associated with their wealth and success. In practice, as the Stockholm Environment Institute study and a 2013 carbon offset scandal that took place in Great Britain point out, carbon offsets are nothing more than a racket.