mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Green Fail: UN Carbon Trading Scheme Increases Pollution

Behold a green failure so colossal even Via Meadia is surprised: a UN carbon-credit trading program intended to reduce global concentrations of greenhouse gases has instead led a handful of factories in the developing world to massively increase them.

The NYT explains:

Greenhouse gases were rated based on their power to warm the atmosphere. The more dangerous the gas, the more that manufacturers in developing nations would be compensated as they reduced their emissions.

But where the United Nations envisioned environmental reform, some manufacturers of gases used in air-conditioning and refrigeration saw a lucrative business opportunity.

They quickly figured out that they could earn one carbon credit by eliminating one ton of carbon dioxide, but could earn more than 11,000 credits by simply destroying a ton of an obscure waste gas normally released in the manufacturing of a widely used coolant gas. That is because that byproduct has a huge global warming effect. The credits could be sold on international markets, earning tens of millions of dollars a year.

That incentive has driven plants in the developing world not only to increase production of the coolant gas but also to keep it high — a huge problem because the coolant itself contributes to global warming and depletes the ozone layer.

The carbon credits represent such a lucrative business ($20–40 million per year per plant, by one estimate) that some of the plants participating the scheme, located mostly in China and India, made the bulk of their profits from carbon credits alone; other plants would hit their carbon-credit subsidy limits and then shut down for the rest of the year.

Like last week’s U.S. cooking-oil-for-fuel scam, this story is so unbelievable it almost makes one doubt the greens’ superior ability to regulate complex economic and political systems.

Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • Corlyss

    Priceless.

    This is as good as finding out that ethanol not only takes food out of starving peoples’ mouths, it eats your engine, requiring you to buy cars more frequently, and it causes more pollution to make than it offsets.

    You can’t make this stuff up!

  • Corlyss

    Anyone who thinks carbon trading is about carbon should think of who invented the scheme in the first place: Enron. They were never about anything but trading as a way to make $$$.

  • CatoRenasci

    Everything the left has touched over my lifetime has turn to [profanity removed], but usually makes money for cronies of the leftists instituting the scheme. I used to give lefties credit for good intentions, but I was young and naive. I don’t think there has been a “progressive” Democrat elected in the past 50 years who didn’t hate America and the values of individual liberty on which it was founded. To paraphrase von Kleist “Into the dust with the enemies of liberty!”

  • cellec

    The whole Global Warming thing boils down to this:

    Anyone who is more successful, makes more money and has cooler stuff than me is necessarily destroying the planet, so…they have to give me their stuff!

  • Rick Caird

    “this story is so unbelievable it almost makes one doubt the greens’ superior ability to regulate complex economic and political systems.”

    Yes, central planning always works just as long as you have the “right” people in charge.

  • teapartydoc

    Funny how the smartest people in the world are not just unable to overcome the knowledge problem, they are incapable of seeing it. Something is lacking here. It is an inability or unwillingness to use the non-analytical part of the brain. Understandings of things like this cannot be arrived at by attention to details and formulas, but by honest reasoning. By dialectical and syllogistic thinking. The kind of thinking we were taught not to use a couple hundred years ago, but are hard-wired to use. It is so easy to dismiss something out of hand you have been trained by your handlers not to see.

  • Eurydice

    It’s not that greens can’t regulate a complex system – it’s that they created a complex economic and political system in which regulation was not the primary goal. So, now they’ve ended up with an extortion ring of countries threatening to poison the atmosphere if they don’t continue to get subsidies. Plus, there’s the irony of inadvertantly encouraging more production of air-conditioner coolant to counteract the global warming effects of the waste gas.

  • Larry Sellers

    “This story is so unbelievable it almost makes one doubt the greens’ superior ability to regulate complex economic and political systems.”

    Almost? My question is why anyone ever thought these folks were qualified or competent to manage these systems in the first place. These are not business-people with years of expertise, they are ideological purists whose goal is to enforce an ideology by whatever means necessary.

    People in the fossil fuel energy industry actualy know what they’re doing, which is why we’ve been blessed with the industrial revolution, the transportation revolution, and now the technology revolution. None of these happen without readily available, consistent, cheap power.

    What have the greens brought humanity? Slower progress, more poverty, higher prices and expanding, suffocating bureaucracy. None of these things benefit humanity, and this is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention because their goal has never been to help humanity.

    The burden is on the greens to prove that their system is better. The evidence is in, and the verdict is that their system is a colossal failure.

  • gringojay

    Hubris worthy of a tragic play like the ancient Greeks wrote.

  • richard40

    So we have all these leftist carbon reduction programs actually making things worse, at great cost. At the same time we have the US having no carbon regulation at all, but reducing our greenhouse gasses, by pure market forces, because fracking, and the huge natural gas reserves it has opened up, has now made lower carbon gas plants cheaper than coal. But the only thing that has actually helped global warming, fracking, is opposed by the left. This does not make any logical sense to me, but maybe it never did, maybe it only ever made sense from a point of being able to support cronyisn, graft, and handouts.

  • http://solarcity.org p

    only direct investment in a 100% renewable energy based world can yield an improvement – the emissions trading system was conceived to support the incumbent, damaging industries – this ha long been known; i am gad the nyt picked up on that.

  • http://solarcity.org peter droege

    only direct investment in a 100% renewable energy based world can help us – it is possible and essential. the emissions trading system was conceived to support the incumbent, damaging industries – this has long been known; i am glad the nyt picked up on that. forget natural gas (a short-term folly), forget CCS (an impossibility), forget nuclear (belongs into the science museum of the 20th century).

  • David Russell

    Aren’t there fossil fuels being created now by the same slow process that created the current reserves?

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service