Feb 22, 2019 | Updated: 08:52 AM EST

Carbon Trading Fails To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Study

Aug 26, 2015 07:30 PM EDT


According to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, a loophole in the United Nation's carbon market may have facilitated an increase in emissions from Russia. The findings of the study suggest that a weak environmental oversight of the UN's carbon credit scheme established back in 1997 led to "perverse incentives" for some industrial plants to actually increase emissions instead of cutting them down, in order to later be paid for reducing them.

The carbon credit scheme was created with the purpose of providing countries with efficient and cheaper means to reduce emissions. However, the scheme instead had opposite effects and it might have caused emissions to rise by 600 million tons of carbon dioxide, as claimed in a parallel study by the same authors.

The data accumulated by the new study focuses mainly on four factories in Russia, which took advantage on the carbon credit scheme in particular due to the country's particular circumstances. Carbon Brief explains what has happened, the reasons behind this and how these industries have been able to unfairly benefit from the United Nation's scheme.

Another interesting finding is that China's emissions of greenhouse gas are actually lower by 14 percent than originally has been thought. The pollution caused by China's coal use gets much attention since it causes health issues not only in China alone but as far as America as well. According to statistics, 4,000 Chinese lose their life daily due to pollution-related illness. And the smog created by China's industry comes to travel across the Pacific Ocean, reaching America to increase pollution levels in the western U.S.

According to reports, China's factories burn four-folds as much coal as the United States does. However, despite these well-known facts, a Harvard-led study released last week in Nature found the pollution caused by China 14 percent lower than thought. According to scientists, the reason has to do with the way it was previously assumed coal is burned in China. The new findings show that in fact China uses as fuel coals with lower carbon content than assumed, which creates in effect less carbon pollution.

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