Accusations That Global Warming Is a Rip-Off

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Warming Rip-Off?

People who are spending big money trying to cut their contributions to global warming may be getting ripped off. The Financial Times reports corporations and individuals are coughing up millions of dollars on carbon-offset projects that are in some cases worthless, and in others make little if any difference to the environment.

Some companies in the booming carbon offset industry are making millions by selling services of little or questionable value. The U.K.'s biggest bank went carbon neutral two years ago — but its environment adviser says he has found "serious credibility concerns" in the offset market. And the Times reports other companies — such as DuPont Chemical — are actually getting people to pay them to clean up the company's own pollution.

Biofuel Crops

Another fast-expanding industry is the growing of crops for biofuels. But that has led to incidents like the burning of Asian forests to clear land for palm oil and the stripping of Amazon vegetation to plant soya and sugar for ethanol.

Tomorrow a Dutch legislative committee will unveil stringent criteria to make sure that the biofuel industry does not do more harm than good. The proposed guidelines will prohibit deforestation, competition with food crops, reduction of soil or water supplies and the displacement of local populations in order to grow biofuel crops.

Tough Talk

Tuesday's exchange of insults between Vice President Cheney and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over congressional funding of U.S. troops included a memorable line by the senator: "I'm not going to get into a name calling match with someone who has a nine percent approval rating."

But it turns out that not only is Cheney's rating much higher than nine percent in the latest Harris Interactive poll — it's actually higher than Reid's.

The vice president got a 25 percent approval mark, while the senator came in at 22 percent in the online survey.

Frankly Speaking

And finally Democratic party head Howard Dean says the best way to get presidential candidates to tell you what they really think — is to lock out the media. Dean told a bankers' group Wednesday that politicians live in fear that their words will be twisted for the sake of headlines. He said: "Politicians are incredibly careful not to say anything if they can possibly help it, except if it is exactly scripted ... If you want to hear the truth from them, you have to exclude the press."

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.