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Make Money Selling Personal Carbon Credits on eBay

April 1st, 2007 by Skip McGrath

eBay sellers can make a nice profit and help save the earth by selling personal carbon credits on eBay.

If you are worried about Global Warming (who isn’t these days) you have probably heard about carbon credits.  The idea of a carbon credit is simple.  If you pay me money I will agree to pollute less so you can pollute more –or just keep on polluting at the same level you are.

Carbon credits are traded in units.  For example, the average car emits about 4 metric tons of Co2 per year.  Let’s say you drive an SUV.  The average SUV emits about 5 metric tons of Co2 per year.  So you can either sell the SUV or pay someone else not to buy one.  This may sound complicated but it’s not.  You don’t have to worry about the math or about finding sellers, you can purchase carbon offset units through the Chicago Climate Exchange.  Just like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where commodities are sold (wheat, corn, pork bellies, etc.), the Climate Exchange sells pollution offset credits.

After he was criticized for using about 20 times the energy of the average American, Al Gore explained that he offsets his gross energy use by purchasing carbon offset credits.

Currently one metric ton of emission credits is going for around $2.00.  But resellers are selling these for as much as $10.  For example one company currently sells a 5 metric ton credit for $50. That would offset one year of driving an SUV.  You can buy 5 credits for about $10.  That’s a 500% markup!

There is a catch to the program.  In order to buy the credits you have to purchase a membership on the exchange which costs $20,000.  OK so you don’t have $20,000 –can you still play in this field?

Can you plant a tree?  The average pine tree will consume between 3 and 4 metric tons of Co2 in its lifespan.  So you can sell carbon offset certificates whereby you just plant a tree in return for each certificate.  You can purchase tree seedlings in lots of 100 each for between 35 and 50 cents depending on the variety and size of tree.  Live in an apartment –no problem.  There are plenty of parks and open spaces you can plant trees on, or you can just ask any landowner if they would like a free tree.

If you think this is a joke it’s not.  There are guys who own Christmas Tree farms who are selling the carbon credits every time they plant a tree.  A couple of the big guys are making more money from the carbon offsets than they do selling the trees.

So how much money can you make on eBay? Let’s say you sell your carbon credits for $19.99.  You cost of the tree is about 50-cents and you will have to create a certificate of some kind that you mail out to the buyer.  This will run another 52-cents in postage.  So you have about $18.97 in profits before eBay and PayPal fees.

Given all the people who want to save the world from the coming ecological disaster but still want to drive their SUVs, fly to Europe on vacation, or keep their heat turned up to 68 degrees, this is a huge market.

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