Dan Rather Does Carbonomics

Dan Rather
Dan Rather
ClizBiz on Flickr
Renowned TV anchor Dan Rather has done an excellent episode of his cable news show exploring the scams and stupidities of carbon offsetting.

International Rivers' research on bogus emission reductions from Chinese hydro dams is featured in the 52-minute show. I'm interviewed about the Xiaogushan Dam, which has been approved by the UN to sell offsets under the Clean Development Mechanism. The offsets are being bought by German utility RWE to enable them to continue burning dirty coal.

The World Bank helped the Xiaogushan project developers get offset income by persuading the CDM that the dam would only be built if the developers could get this income, and that if they couldn’t sell offsets, more coal would be burned in China. Yet at the time the World Bank applied to the CDM, the dam was already well under construction and slated to be completed regardless of whether or not they could sell offsets. So no emissions decrease in China, and an increase in Germany. Not a smart recipe for dealing with the climate crisis.

In addition to Chinese hydro and other CDM follies, the Dan Rather "Carbonomics" episode also covers US voluntary offsets (probably even worse than CDM credits, given that the market is entirely unregulated) and offsets from forestry. The US section includes the operator of a New Jersey landfill explaining that the tens of thousands of dollars in (rip-)offset income they’re very happy to receive courtesy of the Chicago Climate Exchange is entirely irrelevant to their decision to trap their methane emissions.

Unfortunately "Dan Rather Presents" can't be streamed free on-line. But you can pay a measly $1.99 and download it from iTunes (search "carbonomics").