Friday, January 11, 2008

Scrutiny Rises Over Carbon-Offset Sales Process

Wall Street Journal
January 9, 2008

The government is scrutinizing the market for global-warming-emission offsets, part of a backlash against the market that could increase industry's costs in complying with any new environmental rules.Offsets are pieces of paper said to represent global-warming emissions avoided somewhere else on the planet. The offsets are being bought by the likes of corporations that want to project an environmentally friendly image and consumers who want to make their airplane flights "carbon neutral."

Even though the U.S. hasn't imposed a limit on global-warming emissions, purchases of these voluntary offsets have soared over the past two years. So have questions about whether the money is funding real emission cuts or not.

The voluntary carbon offsets at issue in the U.S. differ from the pollution permits traded under the Kyoto Protocol, the international global-warming treaty. The legitimacy of those permits is regulated by a panel of United Nations-sanctioned officials. The market for voluntary credits has no mandatory oversight. (continue: Scrutiny Rises.. )

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