Here’s a holiday gift idea that may conjure images of the proverbial lump of coal in the Christmas stocking: Carbon credits.
The Adirondack Council, an environmental preservation group, is selling carbon dioxide pollution allowances that it purchased in the nation’s first mandatory greenhouse gas auction. Under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, power plants in New York and nine other Northeast states must buy enough carbon credits to cover their emissions.
The "cap and trade" program sets a limit on the number of credits available. So if environmental groups buy and "retire" some of the those credits, it reduces the total amount that power plants are allowed to emit.
That’s what the Adirondack Council has done. Now, it’s selling those credits in lots of three tons worth for 25 dollars. In exchange, the buyer gets a personalized "Carbon Reduction Certificate."