Sun, Feb 04, 2007 - Page 9 News List

The growing `green' market in carbon offsets needs regulation


The broadening range of offsets innovations is triggering debate about the quality of some schemes.

Earlier this month, the British government launched a consultation about standards and a code of practice as a safeguard against ripoffs or disappointment that could badly damage a promising activity.

"People need to be sure that the way they offset is actually making a difference," said Environment Secretary David Milliband.

Alister Scott, spokesman for the University of Sussex Energy Group, an independent group researching energy projects, said offsets were "well-intentioned" but variable in their effect.

The best schemes were those that built capacity -- in other words, they generated further emissions reductions in their own right.

"Simply taking a straight carbon dioxide number and thinking that you are solving the problem is a bit naive," Scott said. "It is not enough, you have to look at the question critically."

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