The Ultimate Greenwash

By Nick Sibilla

Fox News is greener than Starbucks.

Surprised? You should be. According to the newly published Corporate Renewable Energy Index, News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, is actually the 8th highest corporate consumer of green power. Starbucks, on the other hand, is only 14th. How is this possible? Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of renewable energy credits.

These credits—also known as RECs—are created every time one megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy is generated. RECs are sold separately from green power and represent the intangible, environmental benefits of renewable energy. But by purchasing RECs, corporations can still claim they are financing clean energy. In fact, in 2010, over 70% of all corporate RE purchases was through RECs.

Yet RECs are a waste of money for two major reasons. First, the average price of a REC is around $1 per MWh. But according to BusinessWeek, the actual cost of clean energy can range anywhere from $40 to over $90 per MWh!

Second, RECs do nothing to combat climate change. The EPA even admits that buying RECs does not lower greenhouses gas emissions! These credits are the ultimate greenwash.

Investors and environmentalists should be skeptical any time a corporation claims to be going green. In short, RECs are a complete wreck.


Nick Sibilla is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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Posted by at 04:30 | Posted in Energy, Global Warming | Tagged , , , , , , | 63 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • HoboJoe

    These peoples are fools. We are heading into a cold snap due to the sun’s recent downturn in solar activity.
    We will be wanting some warming in about 5 years.
    Idiots.
    Fools.
    Morons.

  • valley dude

    Those traitors at Fox News. Who would have thought?

  • Bob Clark

    This so called “consensus” science (scientific consensus is kind of oxymoronic when you think of it as it lacks the vital “proof” concept) of man made climate change has been all over the map for the past 40 years.  Initially, these folks argued sulfur dioxide from coal generating plants was causing global cooling (1970s); but then when temperatures cycled back up, it then became carbon dioxide from these same power plants was causing an accentuated rise in temperatures.  Now with the last few year’s of huge snow accumulation in the Northern Hemisphere, these same folks are back to some other contorted reasoning of why coal plants are causing current climate cylce variation.

    It’s as laughable as the day to day explanation of stock market index changes.  Yet it is equally as confounding as to why even people like Chris Christie want to use Climate Change as an excuse to replace coal power plants with less economical means of power production.

    Is it any wonder why we continue to sport relatively poor economic growth in the past decade.  Not really…low cost, massively supplied energy is what got us economic prosperity in significant terms.  Politicians of all stripes need to step away from the over regulation of energy, and allow the market to deliver the supply which would grease the skids for higher levels of economic growth.

  • Bob Clark

    This so called “consensus” science (scientific consensus is kind of oxymoronic when you think of it as it lacks the vital “proof” concept) of man made climate change has been all over the map for the past 40 years.  Initially, these folks argued sulfur dioxide from coal generating plants was causing global cooling (1970s); but then when temperatures cycled back up, it then became carbon dioxide from these same power plants was causing an accentuated rise in temperatures.  Now with the last few year’s of huge snow accumulation in the Northern Hemisphere, these same folks are back to some other contorted reasoning of why coal plants are causing current climate cylce variation.

    It’s as laughable as the day to day explanation of stock market index changes.  Yet it is equally as confounding as to why even people like Chris Christie want to use Climate Change as an excuse to replace coal power plants with less economical means of power production.

    Is it any wonder why we continue to sport relatively poor economic growth in the past decade.  Not really…low cost, massively supplied energy is what got us economic prosperity in significant terms.  Politicians of all stripes need to step away from the over regulation of energy, and allow the market to deliver the supply which would grease the skids for higher levels of economic growth.

    • valley dude

      Lets take those one at a time Bob, not that it matters.

      1) Its not a so-called consensus. Its a consensus. The latest estimate is that 97% of climate scientists agree on the basics. 
      2) Man made climate change has not been “all over the map over the past 40 years. It has been consistent since the late 1980s with respect to the relationship between increased greenhouse gasses and increasing temperatures. Soot and other particles like sulfphr dioxide are mitigating factors.
      3) A few years snow accumulation in one part of the earth is not relevant to long term climate change due to greenhouse gas buildup. 
      4) Chris Christie may have more sense than he is allowed to show as a member of the know-nothing party.
      5) Poor economic growth over the last decade has little to do with what type of energy we have been using, which by the way has been mostly fossil fuels.
      6) “The market” will deliver pollution, with the cost passed on to everyone else, if it is unregulated.

      • HoboJoe

        Oh no, we must save our mother before it is too late.
        The sky is falling and it’s on fire!!!
        Thanks for the heads up. What would we do without you?

        • 3H

          Live in your world of denial.

        • 3H

          Live in your world of denial.

          • wnd

            So sayeth 3H, imbued with a “Tunguska Ego” soaring above nature observers believing Mother Nature and Planet Earth are still in charge after eons of evidential existentiality – not Goreons green around the gills from living in unfathomable depths deprived of common sense.    

          • wnd

            …add ‘heights’ along with depths, thank you. 

        • 3H

          Live in your world of denial.

        • 3H

          Live in your world of denial.

        • 3H

          Live in your world of denial.

    • valley dude

      Lets take those one at a time Bob, not that it matters.

      1) Its not a so-called consensus. Its a consensus. The latest estimate is that 97% of climate scientists agree on the basics. 
      2) Man made climate change has not been “all over the map over the past 40 years. It has been consistent since the late 1980s with respect to the relationship between increased greenhouse gasses and increasing temperatures. Soot and other particles like sulfphr dioxide are mitigating factors.
      3) A few years snow accumulation in one part of the earth is not relevant to long term climate change due to greenhouse gas buildup. 
      4) Chris Christie may have more sense than he is allowed to show as a member of the know-nothing party.
      5) Poor economic growth over the last decade has little to do with what type of energy we have been using, which by the way has been mostly fossil fuels.
      6) “The market” will deliver pollution, with the cost passed on to everyone else, if it is unregulated.

    • just doing the math

      “Is it any wonder why we continue to sport relatively poor economic growth in the past decade.Not really…low cost, massively supplied energy is what got us economic prosperity in significant terms.” 

      Except for one factor that is forgotton. Energy was low cost because developing countries had not reached the level of energy consumption as they have today.
      The energy market is now more competitive and expensive. And this may be a good thing as it will hopefully spur a drive to develop other sources of energy.

      As far as Chris Christie advocating replacement of coal power plants; an engineer would be a better informed resource who could suggest changes in design (like more efficient scrubbers) as a more economical solution to replacement.

    • David Appell

      What’s laughable, Bob Clark, is your understanding of the science. All these forcings — positive and negative: aerosols, carbon dioxide, land use changes, etc. — occur always and at the same time. Their individuals magnitudes vary with time and hence, so does the final sum. One may be stronger at some point, and another may be stronger later. 

      Is that really so hard to understand?

    • David Appell

      Bob Clark wrote:Yet it is equally as confounding as to why even people like Chris Christie want to use Climate Change as an excuse to replace coal power plants with less economical means of power production.

      What is your definition of “economical?”

      I suspect to you it means the amount in the box on the bill you receive each month. But that is not what it means to economists, policy makers, or anyone else who thinks about it. There are many, many costs that are not on your bill, and it would be dishonest not to include all of them.

      Is this so hard to understand?

      • Founding Fathers

        “Is this so hard to understand?”

        Yes, David, I believe this is very difficult for right wingers to understand.

    • Founding Fathers

      “Is it any wonder why we continue to sport relatively poor economic growth in the past decade.”

      Tell me, which party was in charge of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives 10 years ago, and for 5 1/2 more years after that?

  • Goinggreen

    I think anything that reduces our quality of living is good. For far too long America has stolen what was not hers and lived high on the hog doing so. Our chickens are coming home to roost. We must lower our standard of living so as to be fair to those with less.
    We are making great strides doing this with Obama.

    • just doing the math

      Far greater strides under Bush.

    • Anonymous

      HORSE SHIT! YOU can get the HELL OUT of America and take your sorry ass to CUBA or NORTH KOREA, which are BOTH your idea of nirvana. And take the rest of your idiotic comrades with you.

      • 3H

        So, your basic premise is, there can be no disagreement with your views?   That it is your way or get out?     Sounds like if you had your way, I’d already be living in North Korea.

        • just doing the math

          And, where is the language brigade on this site? I just cannot help but notice the really profane language used by our more conservative brethren.

    • Anonymous

      NO YOU SORRY PUTZ! YOU can lower your pathetic standards all you want. In fact, you and your fellow ECO-WEENIES can all go to hell as far as anyone I know is concerned.

  • Goinggreen

    The earth is our mother
    how can we forget?
    We must care for her now
    or lose her yet.
    Pollution, gasses, warming the poles,
    No wonder she sighs as she nightly doles
    Out what she has left to keep us safe
    The earth is our mother for goodness sake.
    She keeps us alive, comfortable and safe
    And what do we do – we continue to rape
    Her once proud ecosystem of balance so true.
    Mother earth is trying to give us a clue.
    Stop before it really is too late,
    Give a damn and cure her or remember this date.
    The date will live on but the earth will not
    She’s the mother to us all that we have forgot.
    So quit driving around in a big old SUV,
    And watch where you tinkle when you pee.
    She is a good old mother and she’s all we got,
    So let’s take care of her with credits we bought.
    Yes, carbon credits, the only way to go.
    Save mother earth as she warms so slow.
    Like frogs in a kettle we are getting burned,
    And no lesson yet have we fully learned.
    We are bad and we are stupid and we must wake up!
    Mother earth will no longer allow drinks from the her cup
    Of never-ending care – cause we won’t be there.
    As her cinder-charred body decays in the air.
    Laugh if you want, but poets know best.
    The feelings in their hearts which cannot be wrest.

  • Founding Fathers

    Funny, no mention on Oregon Catalyst of the recent revelations regarding Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and the tactics of one of his other companies.

    It must be tough when your two main media outlets are owned by a criminal enterprise and a religious cult.

  • HoboJoe

    Why would anyone mention it? Then they would have to mention Dan Rather.
    Get it???You are really losing it.

    • Founding Fathrs

      Did Dan Rather do anything criminal?

      Did Dan Rather hack in to anyone’s voice messages?

      Did Dan Rather DELETE voice messages, creating false hope for the families of murdered children?

      You’re pathetic, defending a criminal enterprise simply because you agree with their politics.
       

      • wnd

        “While Mayor Daley
        surprised me today with his decision to not run for reelection, I have
        never been surprised by his leadership, dedication and tireless work on
        behalf of the city and the people of Chicago.” ~ Rahm Emanuel

        • Founding Fathers

          How does this have ANYTHING to do with what I just posted?

          • wnd

            So Soros you fail to recognize Chicago and politics and criminal enterprise.  Must be the BLOGodavich virus ruminating around.  

          • wnd

            make that …IL politics criminal enterprise…

          • Founding Fathers

            Two words: Unification Church.

          • Billandchar

            tumor: “Jeremiah Wright”

             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah_Wright

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