Profit from carbon offset distractions

Yves came to call carbon offsets “distractions” as charity. Fraud would be a better word. There is no guarantee that the offsetting activities will actually be executed or completed as promised, or that there will be no multiple sales. But Joshury and Sundaram made a more basic criticism: Even if carbon offset programs operate as promised, they will not bring good results.

Authors: Anis Chowdhury, adjunct professor at the University of Western Sydney and the University of New South Wales (Australia), had held senior positions at the United Nations in New York and Bangkok; Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former professor of economics, had served as the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development. Advancing the frontier of economic thought and won the Vasily Leontief Prize.Originally published on Jomo Kwame Sundaram’s website

The carbon offset market allows the wealthy to emit emissions as a profit for financial intermediaries. By creating the illusion that others can pay to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), it undermines efforts to do so.

Committed to achieving “net zero” carbon emissions has become a major climate change policy goal.But most climate scientists agree that the goal is Dangerously misleading. On the surface to promote decarbonization, in fact, let the carbon emissions continue to rise.


On January 28, 2021, two high-level climate action advocates, COP25 and COP26 chairpersons, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) The Executive Secretary initiated the Davos World Economic Forum’s “Strive for zero breakthrough‘Initiative.

More than 130 countries pledged Achieve net zero carbon emissions in Glasgow by 2050.although Well-known frustration, COP26 Glasgow Climate Convention Known as breakthrough exist”The path to a safer future“.

Before COP26, Many cities, regions, companies, investors and higher education institutions have joined 120 countries It was already promised at that time.Achieving net zero through offset trading has therefore become a major climate action Distracted.

After experiencing difficult and protracted negotiations since 2015 Paris Agreement (PA), Article 6 It is the last of the 29 articles it agrees to. Article 6 Unify carbon offset trading standards to minimize “double counting”.

Offset allow Countries and companies continue to emit greenhouse gases instead of cutting them. Buying offsets allows them to claim that their emissions have been “cancelled.” Therefore, the offset market slows down the climate action of the wealthy north, Responsible for two-thirds of cumulative emissions.

Cheap cheats

Obviously, Article 6 does not stop the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases.this Kyoto Protocolof Clean development mechanism (CDM) It is also possible to reduce greenhouse gas production by paying fees to others. Therefore, the offset market enables the rich to avoid reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a lower cost.

But why pay for the emission reduction that will happen anyway, even if it is not paid for by offsetting sales? At best, net zero is a zero-sum game for maintaining atmospheric greenhouse gas levels. But progress requires carbon dioxide emissions reductions, which are net negative values, not just net zero values.

Many carbon credits sold as compensation do not remove the extra carbon as claimed.For example, JPMorgan Chase, Disney and BlackRock have all spent millions to protect forests Not even threatenedA CEO agreed to offset the purchase of Tanzania’s forestry project-“Cheating“.

economist Think of carbon offset as “Cheap liar“By increasing the supply of offsets, prices remain low. A lot of space Game system remains.Energy-intensive companies colluded to lobby against high carbon prices, insisting they Damage competitiveness.

Often buy in bulk, they Paying too little for carbon credits Incentives to switch to renewable energy.Average only USD 3 per ton of carbon dioxide The desired energy transition cannot be accelerated in 2018.

Less than 5% of all offsets actually reduce CO2?? In the atmosphere. The European Commission’s research findings on CDM offset projects in 2016 85% did not provide environmental benefits.

make money

Glasgow Net Zero Finance Alliance (GFANZ)-a $130 trillion investor club of more than 450 financial companies in 45 countries-was established at COP26 in Glasgow. It is chaired by former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and is currently the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance.

this GFANZ claims Give full play to the power of big finance and innovate to achieve the PA goal of keeping the temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius below the pre-industrial level.

Advocates claim that this will release trillions of dollars to protect forests, increase the generation of renewable energy, and otherwise alleviate global warming. But GFANZ does not even seek to cut financing for greenhouse gas-intensive industries.

GFANZ members pay “experts”, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments to achieve a net-zero “path”. The offset market enables environmental NGOs to make money from so-called climate mitigation projects or through certification of other programs.

At the same time, large companies use offset purchases to improve their green credentials.After all no Agreed indicators To ensure that the investment portfolio is consistent with the PA. Unsurprisingly, the climate envoy of the Marshall Islands urged to stay “Watch out for green drifting“.

Peddling market solutions, the World Bank has famous There has been a surge in demand from major financial investors recently, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Lansdowne Partners. But most of the profits come from arbitrage, speculation, or third-party transactions—not decarbonization or net zero.

Even Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, the world’s largest asset management company Skeptical, “If we think we can easily require banks and financial services companies, listed companies to comply with TCFD report. We are creating the largest capital arbitrage in our lives. “

Sell ??the sky

The offset market means the creation of new opportunities for new tradable assets. By summarizing all greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, deforestation, landfills, agriculture, etc., new and profitable financial products have been designed for emissions trading and carbon credits.

The implicit premise is that market-based methods are always the best solution to the problem, and in this case, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They don’t distinguish ‘Luxury emissions‘And those because of the livelihood of the poor.

At the same time, the richest 1% in the world produce It is twice the total carbon emissions of the poorest 50% of the population!To make matters worse, emissions from private jets, mega yachts and super-rich space travel Greatly aggravated global warming.

Like CDM and voluntary offset markets, the burden of emission reduction has shifted from the North to the South. While rich countries continue to emit greenhouse gases, developing countries are now expected to be “clean”!

But the poor have no money

At the GFANZ conference, Mark Carney stated: “There is no doubt that the money is here, if the whole world wants to use it”. But developing countries are still waiting to see the promised $100 billion a year to help fund their mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Due to the strong opposition of the United States in the Article 6 negotiations, the developing countries failed to ensure “Mitigation of international transfer of results‘, that is, mandatory contributions Adaptation Fund Proceeds from international emissions trading between PA parties.

The United States and the European Union have also successfully prevented “Lost and damaged‘A fund that provides funding for recovery and reconstruction after climate disasters. Therefore, Glasgow has failed to provide poor countries with any important additional climate financing-for climate change adaptation and loss and damage.

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