Are oil and gas companies seeking carbon credits simply opportunists looking to make a profit? [image via oedipusphinx]
It makes some sense that Masdar City, a carbon neutral city being built in Abu Dhabi, should receive carbon credits. But rewarding large oil companies such as Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC even though they continue to emit carbon into our choking atmosphere, is a much tougher sell.
Carbon Neutral is good
According to The National, the UN-administered carbon credit scheme will reward Masdar with $1.45 million in carbon credits each year. These credits are rewarded for emissions saved through its 10MW solar panel array at Masdar City, and an energy efficiency initiative at a power station in Taweelah.
“The two projects have kept a total of 94,268 tonnes of emissions out of the atmosphere over the past 12 months,” according to monitoring reports uploaded earlier this month on the UN climate body’s website.
Masdar has translated their own carbon credit learning into an opportunity to help other businesses and projects implement the same. While at first this seems like a noble and worthwhile effort aimed at reducing emissions, their intentions are murky.
Carbon intensive is not
“Earlier this year it proposed a huge project for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) that would reduce gas flaring and cut emissions by 151,408 tonnes a year,” writes Chris Stanton. The credits would ” boost the rate of return on the US$29.5m (Dh108.2m) investment in the gas capture technology from 4.3 per cent to 9.6 per cent,” according to the project’s registration documents.
The average power plant, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), emits 1,392 lbs of harmful greenhouse gases for every MWh of electricity produced. In comparison to Masdar City’s carbon neutral city, and despite considerable, noteworthy emission reductions, ADNOC’s carbon contribution should not be celebrated.
Profiting from pollution
Giving credit to oil and gas companies for negligible reductions is an inappropriate approach to climate change, according to sourcewatch.org, resulting in “substantial profits for corporate greenhouse gas polluters.”
Stanton claims that “… the carbon credit industry remains riddled with regulatory and bureaucratic risks, as Masdar learnt last year when it abruptly withdrew registrations for three ADNOC projects.”
Charlie Coghlan, vice president for SCC MENA told Stanton that “investors can wait years for registration, auditing and credit award processes to unfold,” though no one seems certain why.
We at Green Prophet hope that the UN’s reluctance to award credits willy nilly to potential profiteers reflects the agency’s genuine commitment to rewarding true innovation, and true efforts to halt and then reverse climate change.
:: The National
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