They Are All Shams

A whistleblower who spent years working on the integrity of the Australian government’s carbon credit system has launched an extraordinary attack on the scheme, describing it as a fraud that is hurting the environment and has wasted more than $1bn in taxpayer funding.

Prof Andrew Macintosh, the former head of the government’s Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee, said the growing carbon market overseen by the government and the Clean Energy Regulator was “largely a sham” as most of the carbon credits approved did not represent real or new cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

His critique — outlined in four new academic papers — has major implications for the credibility of the Coalition’s $4.5bn “direct action” emissions reduction fund, through which the government buys carbon credits from rural landholders and other businesses.

It also raises questions for the rapidly growing number of polluting companies promising to buy carbon credits to offset their impact on the planet. The private market in carbon credits was worth $150m last year.

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