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UN probes 'huge carbon cash scam'

The United Nations board that oversees a £1.7 billion market intended to cut heat-trapping gases may snuff out funding for a practice said by European and US environmentalists to be a huge scam.

The executive board of the UN's Clean Development Mechanism says it will withhold funding in the form of carbon offset credits from five chemical makers in China until it can investigate the environmentalists' claims.

The chemical makers are paid as much as £64,000 or more for every ton they destroy of a potent greenhouse gas. But it is in fact a by-product of an ozone-friendly chemical that another UN treaty pays them to produce.

Environmentalists say the system encourages the companies to overproduce that chemical to make more money destroying the by-product.

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