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The Top 10 Carbon articles everyone should read

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By illuminem

· 6 min read

If you were looking for our Top 10 carbon videos, please click here.

We are glad to present the recommended Top 10 essential carbon news articles that any “carbon professional” (or person interested in the topic) should read.

At illuminem, we take pride in calling ourselves the “Home” of Sustainability and support our community with quality information and resources to improve our climate knowledge and stay updated on the latest sustainability developments. 

So, why is it important to understand carbon and its markets? To address the environmental crisis driven by carbon emissions, a firm grasp of the debate is essential. This understanding serves as a foundation for crafting effective business strategies and government policies. This comprehensive list encapsulates key aspects of the carbon debate: carbon accounting, offsetting, carbon markets, CCS, carbon removal, carbon-neutral fuels, zero carbon, and carbon neutrality.

1. Offsetting is a dangerous climate lie

Source: illuminem | Jennifer Morgan
Date: October 2021
Knowledge level: Intermediate 🏭

Jennifer Morgan, Germany’s Climate Envoy and fmr. Executive Director of Greenpeace, criticises the "Net Zero" pledges and carbon offsetting practices of politicians and big polluters, the first of any such criticisms reported exclusively by illuminem. According to the author, such wide-ranging commitments act as a smokescreen, disguising the lack of concrete action taken by companies and hindering accountability. By exposing the pitfalls of relying on offsets, Morgan urges for transparent and binding laws to hold companies accountable.

2. Carbon credits: towards net zero or zero credibility?

Source: The Guardian
Date: January 2023
Knowledge level: Beginner 💨

British newspaper The Guardian addresses concerns about "phantom credits" in carbon offset schemes. According to the author, phantom credits raise doubts about the legitimacy of carbon offset practices, undermining genuine emission reduction efforts. The article underscores the need for more credible strategies and introduces biocredits as a potential alternative. It forever changes the climate debate on carbon, creating a widespread awareness against carbon offsetting.

3. Is carbon tunnel vision real?

Source: illuminem | Martin Daniel
Date: June 2023
Knowledge level: Intermediate 🏭

Martin Daniel, Thought Leader at illuminem and Co-founder of Carbonfact, analyses the impact of the fashion and textile industry on climate change. Fashion is a significant contributor to environmental degradation due to its resource-intensive nature and vast carbon footprint. Daniel uses the idea of the ‘carbon tunnel vision’ to shed light on how we may overlook other factors contributing to climate change by focusing solely on carbon emissions.

4. Pricing nature: can ‘biodiversity credits’ propel global conservation?

Source: Yale E360
Date: April 2023
Knowledge level: Intermediate 🏭

This article on Yale E360 documents the emergence of biodiversity credits, the new frontier of environmental markets built upon the success of carbon credits, through the perspective of David Dorr, a global macro trader. Although the topic of biodiversity credits has come under considerable scrutiny, Dorr highlights how they provide an effective mechanism for assigning an economic value to the preservation or restoration of ecosystems and can play a transformative role in global conservation efforts.

5. A global, independent scientific assessment of Carbon Dioxide Removal

Source: The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal
Date: January 2023
Knowledge level: Professional 🧠

The scientific report highlights the urgency of rapidly reducing carbon emissions to meet the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. The necessity of reducing emissions has become apparent from the rapidly-worsening extreme weather events manifesting across the globe. In undertaking its assessment, this report attempts to answer the critical question: is it still possible to limit climate change to 1.5C?

6. Verra response to Guardian article on carbon offsets

Source: Verra
Date: January 2023
Knowledge level: Beginner 💨

Verra, the leading carbon standard company, highlights its strong rejection to the claims made against them by The Guardian. According to the author, they provide robust scientific evidence to counter the allegations in an attempt to maintain the credibility of its rainforest carbon offsets program. Standing firm in defending its environmental initiatives, the article attempts to pivot the skewed perspective provided by The Guardian.

7. The next frontier in carbon credits: consumers

Source: BCG | Patch
Date: March 2023
Knowledge level: Professional 🧠

The joint report by BCG and Patch assesses the Paris Agreement's progress, focusing on emissions reduction targets for 2030 and 2050. It offers a deep dive into corporate commitments to achieving net-zero emissions, shedding light on the sincerity of these efforts and raising awareness about organisational commitment to climate goals.

8. Climate change: atmospheric carbon dioxide

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Date: May 2023
Knowledge Level: Professional 🧠

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sheds light on the sharply rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The alert serves as a significant warning for fossil fuel usage and challenges the speed of the current actions implemented to reduce global emission levels. 

9. What are carbon markets and why are they important?

Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Date: May 2022
Knowledge level: Beginner 💨

In an informative article, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) explains the carbon market trading systems, in which carbon credits are sold and bought. Through presenting the process of carbon compensation, it attempts to highlight why carbon credits are sought after by companies and individuals.

10. Thinking of investing in carbon dioxide removal? Think again

Source: illuminem | Yusuf Jameel
Date: July 2023
Knowledge level: Intermediate 🏭

Yusuf Jameel, a Thought Leader at Illuminem and a researcher at Project Drawdown, staunchly opposes the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technology in lieu of decarbonization, in a global, independent scientific assessment of Carbon Dioxide Removal. According to the author, global firms are investing billions in CDR, while continuing to excessively emit carbon dioxide. Jameel challenges this approach, pointing to the impossibility of meeting the 1.5C target if such practices continue.

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