Scam of the century
Now there's a scam so big that even environmentalists are calling it "the biggest environmental scandal in history."
It's so bad that even the UN and the EU have finally said they're thinking of taking steps to stop it.
It's based on a provision in the Kyoto "protocol" that allows Chinese and Indian companies to keep producing a gas called HCF-22 (used in refrigerators). The Kyoto accord prohibits Western countries from producing the gas.
A byproduct of this production is another gas, HCF-23, that's supposedly 11,000 times more "potent" as a greenhouse gas than the uber-scary CO2.
The scam is that the exact same firms that make both gases--again, an action explicitly permitted by Kyoto--then turn around and offer to destroy the HCF-23... provided a western company or government will pay them a huge amount of money to do so.
Destroying the offending gas generates a "credit", which can then be sold. Companies in the developed world that can't meet the emission targets their governments committed them to--or can't meet them without a huge cost--can buy these credits, allowing them to continue emitting the same amount of greenhouse gases as always, or can be used to ostensibly show that the company's net emissions--including the purchased credits--are falling.
The market for these credits is operated by well-rewarded brokers--most of whom appear to be (surprise!) extremely well connected to various heads of state.
So to summarize: The Kyoto accord gave Chinese and Indian firms an exclusive right to make a gas, using a process that also produces a useless and arguably harmful gas as a byproduct. The Chinese and Indian companies then get paid handsomely--by western companies--to destroy the latter gas.
And Kyoto explicitly permits this scam to run until 2030.
This whole thing is almost surreal, but the most amazing thing is: Most government scientists and economists consider this scheme to be the absolute pinnacle of brilliance and innovation, and they actually regard it a "free-market" solution.
You couldn't make up stuff like this.