Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

80 organisations ask the EU to reject carbon offsets after scandal

80 international environmental organisations including Protect the Forest demand that the EU stops voluntary carbon offsets. A fifth of the world’s largest companies have made some kind of promise to become carbon neutral, which means they must pollute less or pay for carbon offset. A popular type of carbon offset involves paying for forests and trees to be preserved but according to several surveys it is a flawed market.

Photo: Pixabay

The EU Commission has presented a proposal regarding the certification of companies that remove carbon from the atmosphere (“carbon removals”). But an investigation carried out by digging journalists and several studies show that so far neither the certification nor the carbon offsets are to rely upon: More than 90% of all carbon offsets had no climate benefit. In an open letter, 80 environmental organisations call for EU to stop voluntary carbon offsets.

Only a fraction of carbon offsets result in emission reductions

The certification company Verra has certified 70% of all carbon offsets sold to large companies. The German weekly newspaper Die Zeit and the British Guardian, with the support of the non-profit organization SourceMaterial, have carried out an investigation into Verra. Of nearly 100 million certified carbon credits, only a fraction were found to have resulted in real emission reductions. According to the investigation, from Guardian:

-Only a handful of Verra’s rainforest projects could prove reduced deforestation.

-94% of the carbon credits provided no benefit for the climate.

-The threat to the forests sold as carbon offsets had been overestimated by around 400% on average for Verra projects, according to analysis of a 2022 University of Cambridge study.

-Gucci, Salesforce, BHP, Shell, easyJet, Leon and the band Pearl Jam are among dozens of companies that have bought rainforest offsets approved by Verra. Some of them have labeled their products “carbon neutral”. They have also told their consumers that they can fly, buy new clothes or eat certain foods without exacerbating the climate crisis.

“How is it possible that such an obvious scam can go on for over a decade?”

How is it possible that such an obvious scam can go on for over a decade? That is what the 80 organizations that signed the open letter to be sent to the EU are asking. A researcher who has investigated the carbon offset market for a long time explains: “There is simply no one in the market who has a genuine interest in speaking up when something is wrong.”

The 80 environmental organizations writing to the EU believe that the EU should take the failure of Verra’s business model seriously. It is a strong indication that the EU should stop promoting carbon offset as a valid climate measure.

Source: Fern

More on unsustainable carbon offsets:

The Energy Agency is criticized for climate projects in Uganda

Arla is being sued by the Consumer Ombudsman