Earlier this week, House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Barton (R-TX) and Rep. Shimkus (R-IL) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office. In this letter they called for an investigation into carbon offset programs. Part of the letter reads:

To our knowledge, no proven safeguards against fraud and deception presently exist, making the carbon offset market a ripe target for hucksters. Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras observed that the intangible nature of what people are buying, coupled with the lack of verifiable assurances, raise much uncertainty about these programs -- creating a "heightened potential for deception."

The letter continues on to suggest that the concept of carbon offsets is a valuable one for individuals to make a positive contribution to improving the environment but it all relies on honesty. They close the letter by saying, "We don't want carbon offsets to become the 21st century version of snake oil and patent medicine."