"The story of the Abu Qir factory is a snapshot of how the carbon offset market under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has worked to date. Most credits are generated by industrial gas-reduction projects, using cheap end-of-pipe technologies that generate far more money from the sale of carbon credits than they cost to buy and run. The largest buyers of these credits, in turn, are European energy producers keen to extend the lifespan of their coal-based power plants. The fact that such a high proportion of Africa’s credits comes from one factory also tells another story. Africa is marginal to the carbon market, and the carbon market has been irrelevant to the continent’s efforts to tackle climate change. This briefing looks at how this has happened, and at the potential impacts of efforts to extend the carbon market in Africa."