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    Psst - Wanna Buy a Million or Two Carbon Credits?

    02/04/2010

    In a story that could never, ever happen here because our cap and trade would be better and no one would ever try to rip off the government, I'm sure, hackers have stolen millions in carbon credits from the German Emissions Trading Authoriy and resold them.  

    Credit card numbers are so passe. Today’s hackers know the real powerhouse data to steal is emission certificates.

    ...

    Under environmental cap-and-trade laws, there’s a limit to the greenhouse gases companies can emit. Companies that exceed this limit can purchase so-called carbon credits from entities that produce fewer greenhouse emissions than the limit provides them.

    The scheme has produced a robust market for the trade of credits. More than 8 million tons of CO2 emissions worth $130 billion were traded in Europe last year.

    According to the BBC, it’s estimated the hackers stole 250,000 carbon credit permits from six companies worth more than $4 million. At least seven out of 2,000 German firms that were targeted in the phishing scam fell for it. One of these unidentified firms reportedly lost $2.1 million in credits in the fraud.

    The credits were resold for an undisclosed sum.

    This is a not entirely shocking turn of events.  In fact, we totally called it in our Top 10 Reasons to Oppose Cap and Trade.  Up there with killing jobs, global competitiveness disadvantages and a few other reasons this is a bad idea is No. 9: "It opens the door to massive fraud and corruption."