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Con Air
Green Fraud Growing in China

China’s efforts to reduce its horrific pollution are creating a new problem: fraud. To clear its smoggy skies, China put in place green incentives for power plants, but many plants cheated that system by claiming to have cut down on emissions without actually doing anything. Now, as Reuters reports, the Chinese government is cracking down on these swindling power producers:

On Tuesday, [China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)] issued a notice saying that firms engaging in fraud to qualify for subsidies would face severe penalties and suffer public exposure.

The firms were exploiting a scheme that paid a higher price for power sold to the grid by power plants that had installed expensive equipment to cut pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

The NDRC said the probe showed many power firms had failed to install equipment properly, falsified emissions data or tampered with automatic emission sensors to trick authorities into granting the subsidy.

This isn’t the first time green schemes have been revealed as particularly vulnerable to fraud. Here in the US, con artists have repeatedly taken advantage of a system designed to encourage the production of biofuels. In Italy, the mob has lots of green dirt on its hands. Green policy initiatives are evidently fertile soil for such chicanery.

But in China, where the central government already has well known trouble in getting local governments to submit accurate data, this problem will be especially persistent and is probably much worse than what we already know. That’s unfortunate, because China’s toxic smog is exacting a heavy toll on both the economy and on public health.

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  • bigfire

    Don’t worry. They’ll execute a couple of low level offenders to get the message across. That’s how business corruption is ‘solved’ in China.

  • LivingRock

    It doesn’t take “Green schemes” to cull dishonesty out of polluters. Many states in our very own US of A rely on self reported data from the emitter to issue air permits. The regulatory agency basically asks: “Does your facility emit under a certain threshold in order to qualify for an “exemption” from the standard permit?” All you have to do is pay a consultant to develop a model that claims to show just that. Some paper work and two weeks later, presto an exemption! In TX that threshold is 25 tons annually. There sure are a lot of facilities that come in right around 24 tons per year. What a coincidence… /s

  • TommyTwo

    “This isn’t the first time green schemes have been revealed as particularly vulnerable to fraud.”

    I am stunned and distraught to tears at the thought that people might cynically exploit my noble and pure intentions for their own pecuniary purposes.

    (The melting of the ice caps and glaciers is Mother Gaea joining me in my tears.)

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