Carbon Capers

When you set up a trading scheme for hot air, this is exactly what you should expect:

Britain charges 6 people over multimillion dollar pollution credit fraud

LONDON (AP) –  British prosecutors say six men have been charged over a massive pollution credit fraud scheme that cost the British government many millions of pounds (dollars.)

The Crown Prosecution Service says that four of the men created a string of dummy companies that traded in carbon credits, typically certificates which give polluters the right to emit a set amount of carbon dioxide in return for money paid to companies that fight climate change by taking steps such as planting trees or switching to renewable energy sources.

Prosecutors said Tuesday the four men improperly claimed refunds for taxes never paid on the credits, racking up 11 million pounds (nearly $18 million) during a seven-month period in 2009. The other two men are charged with money laundering.

None of them have entered pleas.

You can add this to the $5 billion (and counting) tab for carbon trading fraud in Europe.

Why does anyone think these schemes would work any other way?  They remind me of the oil trading schemes here in the U.S. back in the price control days of the 1970s.  Because there were different regulated prices for “new” versus “old” oil, lots of dummy companies were set up to sell each other oil in such as way as to qualify it eventually for the higher “new” oil price.  All perfectly legal, especially since at the end of the trades someone actually got some oil, unlike carbon dioxide, which no one actually takes phyical possession of through “carbon trading.”