The Global View

FTC examines rights and wrongs of offsets

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When you spend your cash, don’t you want to know where it goes? Asked the FCC this week. Greenbang would suggest her local might account for a not insignificant amount, but it’s not consumption but carbon the FTC is probing, according to the NYTimes.com.

It’s getting all good-cop-bad-cop on ‘green’ advertising, and is updating its Green Guides, which govern environmental claims in ads for the first time in a decade.

The FTC. has not accused anyone of wrongdoing — neither the providers of carbon offsets nor the consumer brands that sell them. But environmentalists say — and the FTC’s hearings suggest — that it is only a matter of time until the market faces greater scrutiny from the government or environmental organisations. […]

Carbon offsets are essentially promises to use money in a way that will reduce carbon emissions. Panelists at the FTC’s session on Tuesday raised a number of questions about certifications behind the claims, wondering if the offset companies might be double-counting carbon reductions that would have happened even without their efforts.