A report by the Government Accountability Office found that the growing U.S. market for carbon offsets is so loosely regulated that it offers consumers “limited assurance of credibility,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The report (PDF) says that the GAO did not always obtain enough information to understand exactly what they received as a result of purchasing offsets from 33 retail providers.
The report also said, “it is difficult for consumers to determine the quality of the offsets they purchased,” because there is no unified registry to keep track of offset projects, and to make sure the projects are not being counted multiple times.
The report doesn’t call for new regulations for the voluntary U.S. carbon offset market. Instead it recommends that if lawmakers decide to adopt offsets in a mandatory CO2 reduction scheme, that they set clear rules and a registry for tracking the offset projects.