According to a whistleblower, the Australian government has wasted over $1 billion of taxpayer money on the carbon credits system. Professor Andrew Macintosh, former head of the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee, spent years working on the integrity of Australia’s carbon credit system. Macintosh now says the system is a fraud that wastes taxpayer money without any significant environmental impact.

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Macintosh claims the growing carbon market offers no value to the environment or taxpayers. The professor’s new academic papers further discredit the system. His research shows that the carbon credits represent no real cuts in greenhouse missions.

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“What is occurring is a fraud on the environment, a fraud on taxpayers and a fraud on unwitting consumers,” Macintosh said. “People are getting credits for not clearing forests that were never going to be cleared, they are getting credits for growing trees that are already there, they are getting credits for growing forests in places that will never sustain permanent forests and they are getting credits for operating electricity generators at large landfills that would have operated anyway.”

Macintosh’s papers also question the growing number of private companies that trade carbon emissions. With the private carbon market estimated at $150 million last year, Macintosh suggest the trade mostly benefits business proprietors.

Of more concern is the carbon offset program’s application to regrowing native forests in cleared areas. This is the most popular carbon credit method in Australia, where individuals are paid to grow trees on deforested native forest land. Over the years, landowners have signed deals worth over $1.5 billion for the reforestation program. Macintosh argues that money is wasted since many forests would have regrown without human interference.

Alongside colleagues, Macintosh analyzed over 119 human-induced regeneration projects in Queensland and South Wales. The team found that the government issued 17.5 million carbon credits to these projects. Ideally, each credit should represent one metric ton of carbon dioxide absorbed by growing trees. However, the researchers observed that the forest barely increased despite the investment.

Via The Guardian

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