The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

California’s Climate Control Scam

Sep 27, 2021

The state of California claims to be a leader in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. One of the chief ways they do this is by companies buying carbon credits.

Through the carbon credit scheme, any company, such as a refinery, a plastics factory, or a power plant, can purchase these credits from a landowner or a farm to emit more than the company’s allocated limit of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. California then assumes that this excess amount of pollutants is absorbed, for example, by the trees of the landowner, or a farm that tends its soil in a certain way or uses specific types of manure. If these landowners and farms don’t get the carbon credit money, they would cut the trees or farm their land in environmentally destructive ways, as the reasoning goes.

As such, this carbon credit law is nothing but a scam concocted between the companies and California to give a green light to companies to pollute, while claiming that they are really helping the environment.

In one example, a petroleum refiner, PBF Energy, bought carbon credits from Eddie Ranch located in Mendocino in northern California. The trees on Eddie Ranch’s land are supposed to absorb excess carbon dioxide emitted by PBF Energy’s two refineries located in southern California. But the Mendocino fire of 2018 scorched these trees, and there is nothing left on Eddie Ranch’s land to absorb anything. But PBF Energy continues to purchase carbon credits from Eddie Ranch.

And the State of California goes along with the scam, continues to stamp these carbon credits as if nothing happened. “Most of the members of the Task Force [responsible for the carbon credit scheme] either represent organizations that have a vested interest in expanding the use of offsets or have ties to industries and organizations that stand to benefit financially from offsets,” one State official wrote after he resigned from the Task Force. So, these state agencies are in cahoots with the companies in setting up such carbon credit schemes.

The share of the pollution compensated by the carbon credits constitutes only a tiny fraction, 4%, of PBF Energy’s total greenhouse gas emissions. So, the company still pollutes the environment with the remaining 96% of the total emissions. Nobody aims to reduce this large chunk of environmental destruction, making the carbon credit a bribe paid for the government’s silence.