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The Carbon Con

SourceMaterial: “The world’s biggest companies, from Netflix to Ben & Jerry’s, are pouring billions into an offsetting industry whose climate claims appear increasingly at odds with reality…Our analysis of nearly 100 million carbon credits found that only a fraction of them resulted in real emissions reductions. It raises questions for the organisations that many of the world’s biggest companies, and the consumers who buy their products, rely on to set the standard for effective carbon offsetting—in particular the biggest of them, Verra. “The implications of this analysis are huge,” said Barbara Haya, head of the Carbon Trading Project at the University of California, Berkeley. “Companies are making false claims and then they’re convincing customers that they can fly guilt-free or buy carbon-neutral products when they aren’t in any way carbon-neutral.”..SourceMaterial and its partners reviewed data shared by scientists who carried out two major studies on Verra forest projects, together accounting for 95 million carbon credits—theoretically enough to balance the annual emissions from 25 coal-fired power plants or burning 220 million barrels of oil…

Our analysis suggests that only 5.5 million of those credits, or 6 per cent of the total, were real emission reductions. Of the 29 projects, only eight reduced any emissions at all. Both studies, carried out by the same international group of scientists, estimated the real amount of deforestation prevented by the projects to calculate how many credits they should have received.  SourceMaterial then used Verra’s database to compare this with the number of credits each project actually received in the same timeframe. The disparity is stark: 94 per cent of those credits are likely to be worthless, the calculations showed…”

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