The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Big Shocker: More Fraud Exposed in Green Carbon Trading Scheme

Two court cases point out a disturbing loophole in one of the green movement’s signature policies: carbon trading. In both cases, the defendant is charged with selling millions of dollars’ worth of fake carbon credits—in one case $42 million. The NYT has the story:

Under the E.P.A. program, initiated in 2009, a producer who makes diesel fuel from vegetable oils and animal fats receives renewable energy credits for every gallon manufactured. The producer can then resell the credits to refiners, who pay millions of dollars for them under a government mandate to support a minimum level of production. The credits can also be resold, a commonplace activity in the arena of corporate compliance with federal environmental rules. The problem is that at least three companies were selling bogus credits without producing any biodiesel at all, the E.P.A. has said in announcements over the last year. . . .The credits are easier to counterfeit than hundred-dollar bills. Known as “renewable identification numbers,” or RINs, the 38-digit credits have no physical form and are traded electronically. Exxon Mobil, Marathon and Sunoco are among the many big companies that have bought bogus credits.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about carbon-credit fraud. In January last year, thieves stole €45 million in carbon credits from various European accounts. In a different case that came to light a few months ago, several manufacturers of gases used in air-conditioning and refrigeration discovered that, under a United Nations program, they could earn millions of carbon credits (worth millions of dollars) by actually increasing their output of a particular polluting chemical.

Once again, stories like these remind us that the greens who think they’re smart enough to regulate an entire global economy haven’t a clue when it comes to managing even relatively simple economic and political systems.

Published on October 12, 2012 5:00 pm