WWF's Amazon carbon trading cash cow

By Eco Guy 10:23pm 21st March 2010
It appears the World Wildlife Fund could be on its way to securing up to $60 billion in carbon credits from 'saving' the Amazon - more like 'cashing in' on the Amazon if you ask me..

Basically, the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) looks like it will be buying up a large slice of the Amazon to save it, then trading the carbon credits for the Amazon (up to $60 billion).

Now on the face of it, this sounds great that the rain forest is going to be protected; but the big 'sting' in the tail is that those $60 billion of carbon credits will go straight into allowing polluting companies to 'offset' their CO2 production. The problem here is that the Amazon is not a 'new' carbon store, its not as if 'new' rain forest has been created to store carbon in, rather this is an existing natural carbon store that has suddenly had a price tag put on it. Now one could argue that the WWF by saving the rain forest are creating a carbon store, because otherwise it would be cleared - the trouble is this is not really the case as the forest in question is so remote it is under no threat of being cleared.

This fundamentally is what is wrong with the carbon market in a nutshell; existing natural resources that naturally sink carbon are suddenly having a carbon market value placed on them and put on the open market. There is no 'effort' involved in creating a new carbon sink or adding in additional capacity - rather carbon sinks that are part of the current 'natural' cycle have had a price tag put on them to then allow companies to continue polluting!

The other problem is that the amount of natural carbon sinks in the world are enormous - this will mean that supply will always out strip demand - so the price of offsetting will probably dramatically drop over time due to market forces; thereby removing the whole point of setting up the carbon trading in the first place; i.e. limit the CO2 production in the first place!

Also, the whole scientific basis for the CO2 trading is seriously in doubt, see here, but hey, don't let bad science and free market principals get in the way of making a fast $60 billion buck! 

Related Content Tags: wwf, amazon, carbon trading

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