Thursday, November 6, 2008

Carbon Credits: Missouri Consumers Receiving Carbon Credit Come-Ons

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The Carbon Credit Scam
Comes to Missouri

By Bob McCarty at

I knew it would happen eventually and, yesterday, it did: I found my first offer to purchase so-called "carbon credits" had arrived in the mail.

A review of the offer, which arrived in the form of a postcard-size insert inside the envelope carrying my monthly electric bill, left me scratching my head and wondering.

Delivered under the banner of AmerenUE's Pure Power program, the offer implies that I need only check the box on my bill to sign up for 100% P.U.R.E. and become a "P.U.R.E. Genius" — that is, a member of the group of "People Using Renewable Energy."

So how does the program work? A paragraph on the mailer explains it this way:

When you enroll in Pure Power, AmerenUE purchases renewable energy certificates (RECs) equal to 100% of your electric usage. That means more reliance on renewable sources such as wind power and less on fossil fuels. The result is cleaner, healthier air now and for future generations.

Still not understanding, I moved on to the mailer's next paragraph, hoping a "light" would come on inside my head:

Announcing P.U.R.E. Blocks — a NEW fixed option that meets your budget and lifestyle. Each block costs a flat $15 and represents 1000kWh of renewable energy introduced into the Midwest Power Pool. Visit or call 866.665.PURE to enroll in the P.U.R.E. Block option.

While I think I sensed some mercury sloshing around "upstairs," I'm not sure whether it was the fillings the dentist put in my teeth years ago or a compact fluorescent bulb (a.k.a., "CFL") at work. Nevertheless, I believe I'm being offered the opportunity to pay $15 to introduce 1000kWh of renewable energy into the Midwest Power Pool. But for what? To find out, I went online to the Pure Power web site and found the "answer" they want customers to swallow believe: Feel good about your power.

Feel good about my power? Sounds like an oxymoron on par with "enjoyable shock therapy." But I digress.

AmerenUE's online version of how I can "feel good" about my power reads as follows:

Signing up for Pure Power makes it possible for you to contribute to a better environment and a stronger economy in our region. The average residential customer who enrolls for a year will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 22,000 pounds?the same environmental benefit provided by two acres of forest every year or taking two cars off the road each year.

In addition to keeping our environment clean and healthy, supporting renewable energy diversifies America's energy supply, protects valuable natural resources for future generations and provides economic benefits to local schools and farmers.

Skeptical about the claim that Pure Energy "provides economic benefits to local schools and farmers," I e-mailed AmerenUE's Susan Gallagher for help. In turn, she forwarded my inquiry to Cindy Bambini, an employee of San Francisco-based 3 Degrees Group, Inc., AmerenUE's renewable energy supplier.

What did 3 Degrees Group, Inc. have to say?

Continue reading: My First ‘Carbon Credits’ Offer Arrived in the Mail

by Bob McCarty
Source: My First ‘Carbon Credits’ Offer Arrived in the Mail
Image: dbkp file

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