The Dirty Dozen – our biggest users of dubious carbon credits

The Morgan Foundation has just published its second report on the use by New Zealand companies of carbon credits of dubious origin. 

In Morgan’s newest installment, researchers look at the 12 companies that were the biggest users of carbon credits purchased from Russian and Ukraine between 2013 and 2015.

The Dirty Dozen


The Morgan Foundation now wants the Government to “right the wrong” of allowing importation of dodgy carbon credits.

“We want these businesses to join our call for the Government to ‘dump the junk’. At the very least Government should not carry forward any surplus units past 2020; the only reason we have these surplus units is because we traded in fraudulent foreign units in the past.”

Over at the Science Media Centre we rounded up reaction from a range of experts. Among them is Massey University energy expert Professor Ralph Chapman who told us:

“There is no doubt that, in recent years, a lot of game-playing was going on by several major New Zealand businesses trying to protect their bottom line by purchasing “hot-air” emission reduction units (ERUs) to offset their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as identified in this latest analysis from the Morgan Foundation.

“It is certainly interesting in the report that, of the five transport fuel companies operating in NZ – Mobil – is shown to be the good guy by being the only one to avoid trading in ERUs. Yet its parent company, ExxonMobil, has been accused of undermining the climate science for many years. So who knows what goes on in corporate boardrooms?

“Buying of cheap ERUs as carbon credits for NZ businesses to offset their GHG emissions did little, if anything, to actually reduce GHGs being emitted to the atmosphere.

“A slow response to the buying of ‘hot-air’ by the government at the time (even though the EU had responded a couple of years earlier) enabled NZ businesses to benefit economically, but at the expense of GHG concentrations further increasing in the atmosphere.

“The practice continues to reflect badly on New Zealand’s current international reputation. We are now a country seen by many as one that is seeking any means possible to avoid actually physically reducing our domestic GHG emissions.

“However, it is now history that this delayed policy approach enabled businesses to put off any real mitigation actions at that time.

“Going forward, there is an opportunity for the New Zealand government to respond and make amends as the Morgan Foundation report clearly outlines – but I imagine most pundits would agree that this would be an unlikely event given the track record we have seen to date of dealing with the climate problem.

“The government has yet to give any leadership in how we might meet our relatively modest target to reduce GHG emissions by 11% below 1990 levels by 2030.

“There is little doubt we have the potential to turn around the continuing upward trend of GHG emissions in NZ and ‘do our fair share’.

“The Morgan Foundation reports help reinforce that now is the time for all businesses to make a real commitment to reducing their emissions and not continue to play games that enable them to shirk their responsibilities.”

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