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Carbon Fraud Revealed Down Under

primecarbonPrime Carbon, an Australian producer and seller of carbon credits, has been accused of making misleading claims on its Web site and in other marketing materials, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Prime Carbon, whose Web site is closed pending review (see image), is alleged to have claimed an association with Australia’s National Stock Exchange – an association that was never evident.

Between July and December of 2008 Prime Carbon also made false claims about the National Environment Registry, including saying that the registry was regulated by the federal government, which it is not. Prime Carbon also falsely asserted that the registry was aligned with the Chicago Environment Registry.

The court ordered Prime Carbon director Kenneth Bellamy to take compliance training, to desist from engaging in such conduct and to publicize the court’s orders to its customers and on its Web site.

The court said it was trying to send a message about greenwashing.

“Companies operating in the carbon credit market need to be on alert: the ACCC is closely monitoring this industry sector, and if you are making representations that you cannot substantiate, we will take action to ensure your compliance with the act,” said the commission’s chairman, Graeme Samuel.

Samuel previously noted that complaints about about misleading green advertising have risen from none two years ago to about 500 since early 2008.

Samuel said that without the ability to fine, there are essentially “no implications” for making misleading green claims. He favors passage of regulations that would permit fines of up to $1.1 million AU.

Before its Web site was taken private, the site claimed had the following wording, reports Dynamic Business:

“Prime Carbon sells a ’soil carbon and sequestration program’ to farmers which aims to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and store it in agricultural land. In signing farmers up to this program, Prime Carbon provides the following services:

“1. Design and facilitate carbon sequestration and other greenhouse gas abatement and offsetting projects for customers,

“2. Assist in the creation and management of specific amounts of carbon dioxide sequestered or abated from the environment (carbon credits), and

“3. Assist in the registration and marketing of those carbon credits.”

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