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Carbon credits: towards net zero or zero credibility?

By illuminem briefings 🌎

Sep 18 2023 · 1 min read

Illuminem Voices
Carbon · Carbon Capture & Storage · Carbon Removal

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Recent reports have highlighted the problems with "phantom credits" in carbon offset schemes, questioning their value and contribution to the fight against global warming 
• Critics argue that carbon offset projects based on avoided deforestation are flawed, as they only maintain existing carbon stock capacity in forests without adding to it

🔭 The context: Carbon offset projects, aiming to neutralize carbon emissions by funding corresponding CO2 reductions elsewhere, face scrutiny over the legitimacy and efficacy of their resulting "credits" 
• The critique centres on "avoided deforestation" projects, which financially motivate forest owners and nations to curb their deforestation practices

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: While well-implemented carbon offsetting can support global net-zero emission goals, critics argue current practices lead to unfounded net-zero emission claims
• They warn that the problem of phantom credits and ineffectual offset schemes could weaken climate action and distract from authentic emission reduction efforts

⏭️ What's next: Biocredits, units of biodiversity that can be traded and sold, are emerging as an alternative to carbon credits
• However, they must circumvent issues experienced by carbon credit and offset markets
Various entities, including the United Nations, are working on standard methodologies to quantify a unit of biodiversity

💬 One quote: "The carbon offset market is not a case of net-zero emissions but of zero credibility." (David Humphreys, Professor of environmental policy atOpen University)

📈 One stat: As per the criticism, more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets provided by the biggest provider are deemed worthless 

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