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Turning Carbon Into Gold

Publication Date: 
June 04, 2008
Mother Jones
Josh Harkinson

Mother Jones magazine quotes Lecturer in Law Michael Wara in a story about efforts to curb carbon emissions, including carbon offset incentives such as Clean Development Mechanism (cdm):

A 2006 United Nations investigation found that a third of cdm-approved offset projects in India would have happened even without Kyoto funding. In China, almost every new hydroelectric and natural-gas-fired power plant has applied for cdm money, casting doubt on whether they really require the offset revenue to be built. "It looks like the cdm is just turning into a production subsidy," says Stanford University climate policy expert Michael Wara, "and that's not a good way to spend our money."


The 43,000 tons of hfc-23 incinerated between 2003 and 2012 will generate $6 billion worth of carbon credits, but cost just $150 million to destroy, according to Wara. He describes the practice as "an excessive subsidy that represents a massive waste of resources."