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F.T.C. Asks if Carbon-Offset Money Is Well Spent

Louise Story, New York Times
Corporations and shoppers in the United States spent more than $54 million last year on carbon offset credits toward tree planting, wind farms, solar plants and other projects to balance the emissions created by, say, using a laptop computer or flying on a jet.

But where exactly is that money going?

The Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising claims, raised the question Tuesday in its first hearing in a series on green marketing, this one focusing on carbon offsets.

As more companies use offset programs to create an environmental halo over their products, the commission said it was growing increasingly concerned that some green marketing assertions were not substantiated.
(9 January 2008)

Global warming ‘changing world economy’

Paul Eccleston, UK Telegraph
Global warming is forcing the world to change the way it does business, according to a new report.

A more sustainable global economy is emerging as countries and companies move to combat the challenges posed by climate change.

Huge amounts of money are pouring into clean energy projects, carbon trading and environmental and energy hedge funds, says the annual State of the World 2008 report from the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organisation.

“Once regarded as irrelevant to economic activity, environmental problems are drastically rewriting the rules for business, investors, and consumers, affecting over £50bn in annual capital flows,” said the report’s co-directors Gary Gardner and Thomas Prugh.
(10 January 2008)
Related from IPS: Report Finds Rising Tide of Green Financing.

Worldwatch’s Prugh discusses 2007 trends, says environmental issues driving global economy
(video and transcript)
Monica Trauzzi, OnPoint (E&E TV)
Each year, the Worldwatch Institute releases a report analyzing the year’s environmental trends. This year’s report focuses on the “greening” of industry. During today’s OnPoint, Tom Prugh, co-director of Worldwatch’s State of the World 2008 report, explains why environmental issues are driving the global economy. He discusses what lies ahead for carbon markets and also addresses how local governments can engage communities for a more sustainable world.
(16 January 2008)

To beat climate change, breaking the mold isn’t enough

Dan Hamilton, San Francisco Chronicle
There’s a big hole in the Kyoto Protocol: Airline emissions aren’t covered. This emission omission has officials in California and Europe worried, so each acted recently to plug the hole. In December, ministers from 27 different countries agreed to cap carbon emissions from aircraft flying to and from the European Union. California joined a host of other U.S. states and municipalities to petition the EPA to institute a similar system on all aircraft flying to and from American airports.

The new EU system, slated to go into effect in 2012, would cap carbon dioxide emissions for European and foreign airplanes alike, while allowing airlines to buy and sell pollution credits on the EU carbon market.

…Undaunted, EU activists are pressing ahead, and have found American allies – not in Washington, but in California and a host of other states. The states have petitioned the EPA to impose a cap-and-trade system, similar to that of the EU, on domestic and foreign aircraft departing or landing at American airports.

This European-Californian pincer movement has raised the stakes in the battle both parties have been having with the Bush administration over global environmental regulation.

…Activists on both sides of the Atlantic are hoping that their newfound partnership can set the stage for U.S. action at home and abroad, should the policy door open in Washington following the November elections. They will be better able to walk through that door, however, if they use the time they have now to fi1Xthe flaws in their cap-and-trade plans for aviation.

Dan Hamilton a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University.
(13 January 2008)