Ten States Seek Fraud Protection for Carbon Offset Market

Washington, DC (January 25, 2008)- California Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr., along with nine other state attorneys general, sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission recommending tighter guidelines for businesses that sell carbon emission offset credits. These credits represent environmental projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions elsewhere in the environment, allowing businesses to purchase these credits to offset their own emissions. Brown and other attorneys general are requesting that the FTC set a clearer definition of what qualifies as a carbon offset, as well as conduct more thorough research into consumers’ understanding of the offset market.

“Currently, the market for these offsets is volatile, largely unregulated, and has serious potential for fraud,” Brown said. With the market for carbon offsets expected to reach $100 million annually in the United States within the next four years, the FTC recently requested public comments by January 25. The letter sent in response by Brown and attorneys general from Vermont, Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Illinois, Connecticut and New Hampshire outlined potential problems in the market and makes recommendations to protect potential consumers.
“The Federal Trade Commission must set clear guidelines for the sale of carbon offset credits,” Brown said. “As more Americans try to offset their carbon emissions, the danger grows that some individuals will attempt to manipulate the system. Consumers must feel confident that they actually get what they pay for-real carbon reduction offsets.”
Related Resources:
Environmental News Service
Policing the Voluntary Carbon Market
The Other Side of Carbon Trading