We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

I’m shocked, shocked

…to discover that carbon management and carbon credits are scams.

As for the carbon offsets so beloved of our elite Gulfstream Greens:

Companies and individuals rushing to go green have been spending millions on “carbon credit” projects that yield few if any environmental benefits.

A Financial Times investigation has uncovered widespread failings in the new markets for greenhouse gases, suggesting some organisations are paying for emissions reductions that do not take place.

Others are meanwhile making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure and in some cases for clean-ups that they would have made anyway.

Net effect of most carbon offsets: zero, or close to it. The Gulfstream Green crowd’s carbon footprints are just as big as before, in other words, although by writing a check they have given themselves permission to ignore this fact.

And from the statist/authoritarian wing, we have cap and trade, which many proponents like to claim is a market solution. As if a market in an artificial intangible permit issued by government and valued only because of government regulatory scheme is anything other than gussied up rent-seeking.

This system sets an overall cap on carbon emissions, creates a fixed set of carbon credits which add up to this cap level, and then allows companies to trade credits with each other. There really is no upside to this system, though proponents will argue that it does have a firm cap on carbon emissions. The downsides are that industries will cheat, price volatility will be really high, counties will cheat and the system privileges insiders:

By creating tradable financial assets worth tens of billions of dollars for governments to distribute among their industries and plants and then monitor, a global cap-and-trade program also introduces powerful incentives to cheat by corrupt and radical governments. Corrupt governments will almost certainly distribute permits in ways that favor their business supporters and understate their actual energy use and emissions.

And, of course, the final ‘solution’ to global warming is the carbon tax, which, like any tax, will grind down productivity, transfer wealth from producers to parasites, burden the development of truly poor areas, and (absent a trade war or true Global Total State) be applied only on a local basis and thus be ineffective to reduce carbon output in any meaningful way. Does anyone think that the worlds biggest carbon producer, China, will cripple its economy with this tax?

The three proposed solutions for the carbon problem are ineffective, corrupting, and damaging. Only someone in the grips of green religious mania, or with a profitable angle dialed in, could possibly be in favor of any of them.

22 comments to I’m shocked, shocked

  • Nick M

    “Green” also has a meaning in the military…

  • The real solution to the issue of CO2 is Fusion, and while awaiting that, Fission.

    Yes, rent-seeking. What I find laughable is how so many bemoan financial markets which almost without fail make money cheaper and less riskier for all, yet those same people are silent about carbon trading – the Luftgeschäft of today.

  • RAB

    Can I just mention the Dutch Tulip Bubble of 1637
    and the South Sea Bubble
    at this juncture?

  • guy herbert

    I’m sure you can mention WebVan if you really want to.

  • K

    This one was so easy to see coming.

    Here we see the modern indulgence. People invest to be fashionable and morally cleansed. What they buy has no firm definition, no regulation, and sells paper promises that can not be audited.

    When in the history of the world has such activity ever proved honest?

    I can’t say ‘I told you so!’ simply because almost every observer expected a fiasco.

  • The carbon credits trading scam reminds me of William F. Buckley’s comment on the so-called Social Security ‘lockbox': that it had all the legitimacy of 13 year old girls sending Valentines to themselves.

  • Dan

    Before we imagine all kinds of twisted solutions to reduce carbon emissions, let’s first listen to the voices of some scientists who are proving global warming has nothing to do with CO2. The whole idea that man could influence climate may be a myth. Just like we laugh at ice age scares 30 years ago we might find ourselves laughing at this global warming mania in the future. Climate changes on this planet, it’s a fact, and the cause of it may be plain old solar activity.

  • Fred Z

    This carbon credits stuff is great. Please God, do not end it before I can get me some cashola-bola of my own.

    Do not forget the immortal Canada Bill Jones who gave us the 11th commandment: “It is immoral to let a sucker keep his money.”

    If an idiot wants to buy carbon credits, pyramids, the Brooklyn Bridge, healing crystals or chiropractic, who am I to say no? So long as it’s not tax money he’s using.

  • Midwesterner

    As K points out, you know Greens are a suspect religion when they start selling indulgences.

    I propose new terminology.

    ‘Carbon Indulgences’.

  • ian

    I think you might need to think again about chiropractics – or perhaps you are mistaking it for something else. It certainly isn’t to be equated with aromatherapy and healing crystals.

  • ArtD0dger

    By all means, let’s dole out un-emitted pollution to energy corporations for use as rental property.

    Matt Stoller’s commenters seem incensed that he’s not on board for this. I guess MyDD’s readership must consist mostly of energy lobbyists.

  • Kevin B

    we might find ourselves laughing at this global warming mania in the future

    My hope is that when people look back at the great Global Warming mania of the late 20th and early 21st century they will regard it much as we regard such things as phrenology. A (mostly) harmless misaprehension brought about by incomplete knowledge.

    My fear is that they will regard it as we regard Eugenics. A Perversion of Science that contributed greatly to the obscenities of Dr Mengele and the horrors of the Death Camps.

    The AGW religion has the potential to cause great harm to humanity simply by economic means, and the way the more extreme greens talk airily about the need to reduce the impact of humanity on their goddess, Gaia, I fear other means will be mooted.

    (I would add that I’m in favour of Terry Pratchett’s notion of reverse phrenology. I can think of a few people, mostly politicians, whose character I would like to change by giving them a couple of fresh bumps on the head.)

  • Kevin B

    we might find ourselves laughing at this global warming mania in the future

    My hope is that when people look back at the great Global Warming mania of the late 20th and early 21st century they will regard it much as we regard such things as phrenology. A (mostly) harmless misaprehension brought about by incomplete knowledge.

    My fear is that they will regard it as we regard Eugenics. A Perversion of Science that contributed greatly to the obscenities of Dr Mengele and the horrors of the Death Camps.

    The AGW religion has the potential to cause great harm to humanity simply by economic means, and the way the more extreme greens talk airily about the need to reduce the impact of humanity on their goddess, Gaia, I fear other means will be mooted.

    (I would add that I’m in favour of Terry Pratchett’s notion of reverse phrenology. I can think of a few people, mostly politicians, whose character I would like to change by giving them a couple of fresh bumps on the head.)

  • Jacob

    Does anyone think that the worlds biggest carbon producer, China, will cripple its economy with this tax?

    Most countries in the world have already crippled themselves with a 100% gas tax. I don’t know about China, but in Europe gas costs 4-5 dollars per gallon, half of which tax.
    Did it help any with the CO2 ?

  • Freeman

    So long as it’s not tax money he’s using.

    Problem is, it is. It has already been announced by our splendid UK government that it has bought “carbon credits” on behalf of ministers, to cover their overseas flights for a year. I should like to see an audit of what taxpayers’ money has actually bought and an independent assurance that some civil servant purchasing officer has not been taken for a ride at our expense.

  • James Dixon

    > And, of course, the final ‘solution’ to global warming is the carbon tax, which, like any tax,

    Ah, yes. The carbon tax. Which, if passed, will finally realize the dream of governments since the dawn of time. The government will finally, actually, really, be able to tax you for breathing.

  • atheo

    This site is the only one where commenters can discuss global warming and peak oil in a civil manner. Good for you.

  • Nick M

    Jacob,
    4-5 USD per gallon? Come to the UK it’s more like 8!
    And you need to spend nearly 250USD to get a license to watch TV for a year.

    James Dixon,
    You shouldn’t say stuff like that when I’m drinking tea, this is quite an expensive laptop. Actually, I’d heard (I think this was serious) that someone had done a study into how much more CO2 was produced by athletes. You do appreciate that walking to the shops isn’t carbon-neutral either. I think with carbon-credits etc we have come to a point which can only be described using George H W Bush’s phrase “Voodoo Economics”.

  • Jacob

    Come to the UK it’s more like 8!

    Ok. I forgot to put in my post the words “at least”.

    So, you (in the UK) should congratulate yourself on your progressive global warming policies.
    But, please take it easy… if you continue to raise gas taxes the world might freeze!

  • Jacob

    By the way, Kerry Emanuel, a prominent climate scientist at MIT, published recently a good article, trying to explain, in layman’s terms, the science behind global warming.
    Kerry Emanuel is a climate alarmist.
    You can read his long piece, along with my fisking of it, at my site(Link).

  • lucklucky

    Here 60% of Gas price is tax.

    “Does anyone think that the worlds biggest carbon producer, China, will cripple its economy with this tax?”

    If the money goes to the pockets beaurocrats why not?

  • Julian Taylor

    Its around £4.50 for a gallon of petrol (gas) in the UK which is about $9 a gallon now. Of that $7.20 is direct and indirect taxation.

    I recently read with some interest about how the environmentally disturbed almost deliberately skim over some of the more glaringly obvious contributors to enviro-damage. Chief among these is, especially in the UK and France, is the lack of treatment for landfill sites – the vast majority of waste dumps are just left to rot in the open – which contribute well in excess of 20% of all bio-methane emission. A simple solution, as is practiced in many parts of the USA and throughout Germany, would be to consolidate those landfills and cap them, thus allowing the methane to be drawn off and sold.

    Until national and local government do something about that I shall quite happily continue to potter about in a Rangerover and the only CFC I shall worry about is a small football team near Fulham Broadway …