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Offsetting should offset

(Image: Youtube, LastWeekTonight: Carbon Offsets: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver)

The British-American comedian John Oliver recently presented a show on Carbon offsetting. The video explained some basic lessons about failed approaches claiming to compensate GHG emissions, shedding light on the shortcomings of many but not all offsetting approaches.

Alignment with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, the 1,5°pathway and not least carbon neutrality are today’s unique selling points on international carbon markets. Such aspiration levels should be transparent and proved institutionally, including self-adjusting elements and tools of the market.

However, these tools are still missing. With the Glasgow decisions on Article 6 mechanisms and the transparency requirements, an advanced but yet unfinished regulatory framework was developed.  Important issues such as the handling of carbon removals and the accounting methods, are still to be decided upon. These missing elements are currently afflicting both project developers and companies aiming at making serious neutrality claims.

Institutional solutions are needed which establish strong guardrails that allow to sort out certificates without positive climate impact. Public institutions may also play a role by setting the right examples with voluntary compensation measures and exploring ways to honor offsetting projects which are really aligned with the Paris Agreement.

Watch the video here.

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