well meaning but inane Green Scheme would produce weird outcomes.
Say you earn one carbon credit by eliminating one ton of carbon dioxide, but you get more than 11,000 credits by simply destroying a ton of an obscure waste gas normally released in the manufacturing of a widely used coolant gas.
That incentive has driven plants in the developing world not only to increase production of the coolant gas but also to keep it high.
So since 2005 the 19 plants receiving the waste gas payments have profited handsomely from an unlikely business: churning out more harmful coolant gas so they can be paid to destroy its waste byproduct. The high output keeps the prices of the coolant gas irresistibly low, discouraging air-conditioning companies from switching to less-damaging alternative gases. That means, critics say, that United Nations subsidies intended to improve the environment are instead creating their own damage.
Carbon trading has become so essential to companies like Gujarat Fluorochemicals Limited, which owns a coolant plant in this remote corner of Gujarat State in northwest India, that carbon credits are listed as a business on the company Web site.