Will Media Report Carbon Credits in Europe Crashing Like Dotcom Stocks in the '90s?

April 28th, 2007 11:46 AM

As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, England’s fabulous paper the Financial Times has been doing an extraordinary job exposing the scam that is carbon credits, exhibiting an honesty which America’s media sorely lack.

On Friday, FT published another article about this travesty (h/t Glenn Reynolds) which is also almost guaranteed to be ignored by U.S. press outlets far more concerned with glorifying folks like Al Gore, Sheryl Crow, and Laurie David.

In this report, FT exposed how recommendations from the British government bilked companies interested in offsetting carbon emissions out of huge sums of money by advising them to purchase what turned out to be “worthless” (emphasis added throughout):

The first charge against Defra [Britain’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs] is that under a proposed code of practice, it has been advising businesses and consumers wishing to offset their emissions to buy carbon credits through the European Union or UN carbon trading scheme. However, phase one of the scheme was discredited last May for flooding the market with too many permits to achieve any emissions cuts.

With so many carbon trading schemes on the market, many British companies were keen to follow official advice. However, the result is that many were persuaded to buy environmentally worthless carbon credits.

Amazing, wouldn’t you agree? Yet, this gets better, although it might require a bit of explaining:

Reflecting the surplus in ETS permits, the market price has plunged to less than €0.50 (£0.34) per tonne, but offsetting companies are selling permits for more.

John Henley, chief executive of MyCarbonWorld, which offers EU phase one permits for sale at £6.40 per tonne told the Financial Times: "It's not a simple case of a gross margin there. There's obviously set-up costs, admin costs, dealing costs, wholesale costs."

Okay, so let’s add this all up. First, a British government agency recommended that British companies interested in offsetting their carbon output buy credits based on phase one of this scheme. One company in question was selling such credits for £6.40 per tonne (1000 kilograms), or about $12.80 at today’s exchange rate.

Yet, because phase one ended up being “discredited last May for flooding the market with too many permits to achieve any emissions cuts,” these credits are currently trading on the open market for £0.34 per tonne, or about 68 cents. This represents a 95 percent decline in value.

Nice trade, wouldn’t you think? Remind you of some dotcom stocks in the late '90s?

Now, given the media’s focus on solving global warming, and the press’s fascination with Al Gore and Hollywood’s carbon credit scheme, wouldn’t it be newsworthy to report how such strategies are failing miserably across the Atlantic, and how the only people benefitting from this scam are the folks selling worthless pieces of paper?

Is that really asking too much of our media?

On the flipside, as the media here are advancing carbon credit schemes as a means of reducing carbon emissions, if they actually ignore what reputable newspapers like FT are reporting concerning this issue overseas, and American companies end up being similarly bilked by carbon credit marketeers here, wouldn’t the press end up being complicit?

As such, don't they have more than just a professional and/or moral responsibility to share these findings before American businesses suffer a similar fate?