Carbon Credits for the Common Man

New companies (such as earthaid.net) have taken an interesting new shortcut to profits in the carbon credit cap and trade system. You sign up for an account and input all you utility company information, they then check all of your usage history. This information is used to create a “baseline” usage estimate; when you save energy within your home, they track that change and assign carbon credits from the carbon savings. The company takes a portion of the profits when it sells the carbon credits, but the majority goes to the homeowner. This system has some very obvious benefits in the way of providing more incentive to homeowners to decrease their emissions, but the environmental benefit may be negated in the end; these new carbon credits could lower their cost in the market, making it more profitable for heavy polluting companies to just buy cheap carbon credits rather than cutting their own emissions.

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