Lawson makes some good sounding points about the EU faith in Kyoto, and none of them are encouraging. Here's a key section:
This fabricated market in carbon has at its heart the UN's Clean Development Mechanism. This is how the EU, which had an obligation under Kyoto to reduce its emissions by two per cent by 2012, has managed to claim success while actually increasing its emissions by 13 per cent. By purchasing so called "offsets" from countries such as China, Britain, for example, proclaims itself a "leader in the fight against climate change".
Most of this is entirely fraudulent, in the sense that the Chinese have been paid billions to destroy particular atmospheric pollutants, such as CFC-23, which have actually been manufactured in order to be destroyed – and for no other purpose. This is hardly surprising: if something is accorded a price (especially a fixed one) then companies will queue up to produce it.
The EU is inordinately proud of its Emissions Trading Scheme – which it calls "the world's first carbon market" – and it is this scheme which has created the creative accounting scam known as "offsets". Even mortgage-backed securities, the financial instrument at the heart of the credit crunch, at least had something useful – houses – at the bottom of the pile of junk. Some people have described offsets as the carbon market equivalent of the mediaeval sale of Indulgences by the Catholic Church; but as Prof Prins points out, the Church sold them only as a means of atoning for the sins of the past – "carbon offsets" are sold to absolve us from sins in the future, an even more preposterous transaction.