Why carbon offsetting undermines climate targets

Just Share has joined more than 80 civil society organisations in rejecting the use of offsets to meet corporate climate targets. The public statement calls on accounting bodies like the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to continue to exclude offsets and stick to scientifically-sound methodologies for tracking corporate climate efforts.

The statement follows news that the SBTi is considering allowing companies to use offsets to report lower emissions in their global value chains – which is where the vast majority of corporate emissions lie. The SBTi is expected to soon release the results of a call for evidence on offsets and other environmental certificates. While the offsetting industry and some businesses will likely use this consultation to push the claim that offsets are delivering positive results, it is clear that the science does not support these arguments.

Scientists, experts and industry leaders have called on the SBTi to withdraw this proposal. The public statement underlines that offsets do nothing but delay climate action by companies, have been demonstrated to lack credibility and impact, and cannot be used to solve the climate finance gap for the Global South. Scientific studies have shown that offsets have failed to deliver additional emissions reductions and are not a reliable tool for fighting the climate crisis.

The EU – the global frontrunner on corporate sustainability rules – has already excluded the use of offsets for corporate emissions reduction targets within the value chain, and prohibited companies from making “green” advertising claims based on offsets.

IMAGE: Getty Images / Nigel Jared

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