Aug 27, 2015

Carbon trading fails to reduce emissions, harms climate, study says - @willdizard

Because of bogus carbon offsets, European scheme to let polluters buy credits resulted in more harm to the environment
Wilson Dizard @willdizard -  A United Nations-backed carbon-trading scheme in Europe, originally meant to combat global warming, has instead resulted in the release of more than half a billion additional tons of greenhouse gases, according to a new report.

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) report released Monday found significant problems with the efficacy of carbon offsets. The researchers found issues with 75 percent of 872 million offsets, and point to a lack of oversight as the main problem. 

"We know what rules are needed and then we need the political will to implement them," Anja Kollmuss, one of the authors of the study, told Al Jazeera. "And so far this has been lacking."

The Joint Implementation (JI) carbon-trading scheme, established under the Kyoto Protocol, may have "seriously undermined global climate action," researchers said. Faults in JI have released 600 million tons of carbon dioxide more than if the scheme wasn't in place, the report said.  

"This study focuses on that part of JI that is not subject to international oversight, but is instead left up to the individual countries to administer and ensure integrity," Julia Justo Soto, head of the UN's Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee, said in a release Tuesday.

Soto recommended that the enforcement "mechanism in future be run under a single track with international oversight."

Carbon-trading markets let companies in certain industrialized countries earn the right to emit greenhouse gasses by funding offsets elsewhere, like cleaning up combustible piles of abandoned coal mine waste. In theory, this will keep the total emissions under goals set by the European Union, but the plan only works if the offsets make a legitimate reduction in emissions. The SEI study found many do not. 

For some companies, buying the right to pollute with offsets is often cheaper than refurbishing their own polluting facilities — like coal-fired power plants or chemical plants that can emit greenhouse gasses more dangerous than carbon dioxide. 

To Lukas Ross, a climate advocate at Friends of the Earth, the cap-and-trade system was doomed to fail from the start. He said it could even lead to environmental injustices.

"This is another nail in the coffin for Wall Streets solution to the climate crisis," Ross said. He prefers a direct tax on carbon emissions.

Please read on from source by Wilson Dizard @willdizard