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  Carbon emissions trading has been steadily increasing in recent years. According to the World Bank's Carbon Finance Unit, 374 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent were exchanged through projects in 2005, a 240% increase relative to 2004 (110 mtCO2e) which was itself a 41% increase relative to 2003 (78 mtCO2e).

  Parties with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Parties) have accepted targets for limiting or reducing emissions. These targets are expressed as levels of allowed emissions, or “assigned amounts,” over the 2008-2012 commitment period. The allowed emissions are divided into “assigned amount units”.

Emissions trading, as set out in Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol, allows countries that have emission units to spare - emissions permitted them but not "used" - to sell this excess capacity to countries that are over their targets.

  Thus, a new commodity was created in the form of emission reductions or removals. Since carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas, people speak simply of trading in carbon. Carbon is now tracked and traded like any other commodity. This is known as the "carbon market."


  Only 20% companies offering “carbon offsets” – carbon credits sold to   companies or individuals for the purpose of balancing out the negative effects of their activities on the climate – were “quality” providers. Ten of the top scorers were based in the UK, which is rated as “the global epicentre of quality offsets”. Others were criticised for not providing clear environmental benefits. Tree-planting was “of questionable quality”. Schemes run by numerous Carbon exchanges are questionable.

 Does any project that reduces carbon emissions qualify as a carbon off-setting project?  Because the voluntary offsetting market is unregulated, any project that reduces carbon emissions can sell offsets to consumers and businesses.You may ask who actually are the offsetters and how do they police the credits against the emissions?  Well actually, anyone can be an offsetter and the short answer is; they are not policed.

The simplest way to explain all this gobbledygook is; Imagine living in a land of perpetual budgets. What you give with one hand, someone else will  take with the other. So everything evens out. Well on the stockmarket at least! But not to your benefit!  Cuger Brant.

With this logic, even the ‘Tata’ motor industry is green! You tweak the engine of a Tata Nano car, thus saving say 10% of its fuel consumption, then sell the offset to the Chinese. Notwithstanding that the more cars you produce, the more you are contributing to Carbon offsetting.   Is it me? Or have I missed something?

This is precisely what carbon credits are. And, like anything else “managed” by the United Nations, it will give birth to a whole new system of pocket-liners, fraudsters and corruption.


While you are buying anything with a ‘green, environmentally friendly, negated carbon footprint’ logo to ease your conscience, from toothpaste to recycled toilet rolls so to speak, think on. This green, carbon footprint thing is fast becoming a mug’s game for grabbing money and profits and is nothing to do with the environment!

Good news for coal lovers!!