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Shell signals retreat from carbon offsetting

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


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

🗞️ Driving the news: Shell, a notable supporter of carbon offsetting, has retreated from its ambition to invest up to $100 million annually in carbon credits and buy $120 million in nature offsets yearly by 2030, amid growing skepticism about the effectiveness of such offsets
• This move mirrors brands like Gucci, Leon, and Nestlé who have also distanced themselves from offsets, following reports suggesting many carbon credits don't actually counteract global warming

🔭 The context: The Guardian's investigation recently accused that many rainforest carbon offsets lack real value, while the Carbon Trust, a leading environmental certification body, has discontinued its "carbon neutral" label based on offsetting, recognizing the risk of misleading due to subpar offsets
• The investigation expanded upon a critique initially raised by Greenpeace's Executive Director on illuminem ahead of COP26. [NB: Verra, the leading organization in carbon standards, dismissed the criticism from The Guardian]
• Per illuminem insiders, Shell's announcement while "maintaining substantial investments in nature-based solutions" might signify a narrative adjustment rather than a full market shift

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: If a substantial number of carbon offsets are ineffective, then they provide a false sense of progress in the fight against climate change, potentially detracting from more effective solutions to the climate crisis. On the contrary, if carbon offsets are a necessary or valuable tool for climate mitigation, a symbolic withdrawal from a carbon removal programs could hinder the development of carbon markets & solutions

⏭️ What's next: Concerns about the credibility of carbon offsets are leading corporations to either distance themselves from the market or seek higher standards of carbon solutions
• With growing global demand for climate solutions, the carbon market is anticipated to evolve significantly to rebuild trust and set clear standards

💬 One quote: “This market has to become a market in the billions.This is critical, not only to protect the climate but also to create a thriving market.” (John Kerry, U.S. climate envoy)

📈 One stat: The voluntary carbon market, which reached a peak of $2 billion in 2021, has since plummeted to $500 million this year, but predictions suggest it could soar into the tens of billions in the forthcoming years 

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