Hard... to... say this... but George Monbiot is right. (It had to happen eventually)
He points out:
A fair account of our carbon emissions would include those we import minus those we export: a balance that can only worsen in a post-industrial economy... Given that we are outsourcing some of our greenhouse gases, you might think it makes sense to outsource our carbon cuts as well.
But... while the emissions we export are certain and verifiable, the cuts we buy through carbon credits are often fraudulent. For instance, as the writer Oliver Tickell documents, 96% of the carbon credits from hydroelectric dam construction were issued after construction had begun: the dams would have been built without the carbon market, so no additional cuts have been achieved. About 30% of all carbon credits come from the sale of trifluoromethane cuts by Chinese and Indian companies making refrigeration gases. Many of them are still producing this pollutant only because they make so much money from cleaning it up: the carbon market pays them 47 times more for these cuts than the gas costs to remove.
However, all that said, Monbiot then manages to get through the whole article without once mentioning the origin of the Emissions Trading Scheme (hint: it's a large organisation based in Brussels).
It seems that in bien pensant circles there is still quite an unwillingness to criticise the EU.
For example we were having a chat with the head of a big NGO a while back.
Asked why he didn't do more to criticise the EU's trade policies, he said that while he passionately hated the policy, "We don't want to criticise the EU too much because it's basically a good thing".
At some point that protective shielding of the EU is going to break down. The well-meaning world is going to realise that Brussels is running the show now, and the EU doesn't always listen.
Perhaps Mr Monbiot will go to Brussels and be told to parlez à la main parce que le visage n'écoute pas.
Perhaps then things will change.