Carbon-Offset Cheaters in the Hot Seat
A coalition of environmental watchdog groups is calling for an investigation of the U.N.'s carbon-trading program, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), alleging that some companies are cheating the system. According to the activists, chemical manufacturers have been ramping up production of the refrigerant HFC-22, which creates the heat-trapping gas HFC-23, to sell millions of dollars of carbon-offset credits for destroying the greenhouse gas.
About 20 companies, mostly in China and India, are under scrutiny for possible CDM abuses. According to the New York Times, one CDM expert, Lambert Schneider, has data suggesting that the firms design their business models around the bogus cash flow. "What I found most astonishing," he said, "is that many of the plants produced exactly the amount [of HFC-23] where they are eligible to get credits for."