‘Fume permits’ perfect for fraud

Romanian houses

Some people, like NZ Climate Science Coalition energy spokeman Bryan Leyland, have been warning for years that the introduction of trading in invisible, unmeasurable, so-called “carbon credits” (or ‘fume permits’) is an open invitation to fraud.

Since 2002, Carbon Trade Watch has been keeping a close eye on the effectiveness of and criminal activity in carbon trading around the world. They wrote a good summary in April this year of frauds in the European scheme.

Now, we see the involvement of an entire country in “irregularities”, with Romania being completely barred from trading in carbon credits.

The Kyoto Protocol created a Compliance Committee (or Carbon Police), responsible for setting fines or deciding other punitive action when countries fail to meet their obligations under the Protocol.

The Compliance Committee has suspended Romania from participating in the carbon “market” because, they say, there are “irregularities” in Romania’s emissions data. The country was anticipating earning $US2.2 billion towards reducing its national debt from sales of carbon “offsets”.

The temptation to misreport the nation’s emissions and sinks is perhaps too easy, but one wonders what nasty political considerations might lie behind this severe and rapaciously expensive sanction (if the country loses the whole of the potential earnings, the fine is $US2.2 billion for what might have been an administrative lapse). One has strong doubts that the same thing happen to, say, the UK or Germany if they counted the invisible gases improperly.

Notice how emissions of carbon dioxide (with a few even less important gases) are demonised in this report from AFP by referring to the process as “pumping industrial gases.”

The scheme allows around 12,000 companies including huge multinationals to buy and sell rights to pump industrial gases into the atmosphere.

There has been a clever and very successful propaganda campaign to turn us against greenhouse gases.