A study by the international media association of the British newspaper The Guardian, the German Die Zeit and the investigative journalism organization SourceMaterial questions the effectiveness of the carbon offset market in balancing greenhouse gas emissions. According to the group, the purchase of carbon credits in tropical forests is essentially “useless”.
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The carbon credit market has become a popular alternative for large corporations to balance their emissions, financing projects that protect forests that would offset their release of gases into the atmosphere. The Reviews of the media vehicles suggests, however, that around 90% of the compensation would be for “phantom credits” and would not be effective.
Over nine months, the investigation analyzed Verra’s activity reports, one of the world’s leaders in the carbon market. The conclusion was that offsets, in general, did not lead to significant emission reductions and did not result in any climate benefits. According to The Guardian, “only a handful of projects showed evidence of reduced deforestation, […] deeper analyzes suggest that 94% of the credits did not bring climate benefits.”
Since 2009, Verra has provided over one billion carbon credits. The organization claims that the study carried out by the group reached “erroneous conclusions”.
To generate carbon credits, resources must be directed towards protecting a number of trees that would be capable of absorbing the amount of carbon equivalent to the emissions of the buyer. Verra’s clients include the oil company Shell, software provider Salesforce and even the band Pearl Jam.
Brazil is seen as a major source of these credits, given the extent of its forests. Deforestation in the country, however, has been growing in recent years, after a period of great reduction in annual rates.
Source: Terra Daily, Valor Investe