Systematic over crediting of forest offsets
Published April 2021
- “Because offsets effectively allow pollution to continue… they must reflect real climate benefits.”
- “To better understand whether these climate claims hold up in practice, we performed a comprehensive evaluation of California’s forest carbon offsets program — the largest such program in existence, worth more than $2 billion. Our analysis of crediting errors demonstrates that a large fraction of the credits in the program do not reflect real climate benefits. The scale of the problem is enormous: 29% of the offsets we analyzed are over-credited, totaling 30 million tCO₂e worth approximately $410 million.”
The math isn’t adding up on forests and CO2 reductions
- Published in The Verge, April 2021
- “More evidence surfaced this week that shows that forests are struggling to do humans’ dirty work when it comes to climate change. Although companies and countries are increasingly relying on forests to draw down their planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions, the math isn’t adding up to show big benefits.”
- “California might have oversold the success of carbon offsets used in its cap-and-trade system, which is often billed as one of the world’s most successful market-based mechanisms to tackle climate change. The system appears to be failing because California is actually over-counting how much carbon dioxide forests keep out of the atmosphere.”
These Trees Are Not What They Seem
- Published in Bloomberg Green, December 2021
- This article discusses the efficacy corporate donations to protect U.S forests. By making such donations, corporations claim to be offsetting their carbon footprints, and thereby helping to mitigate climate change.
- However, the article claims that a significant portion of forests that large corporations have paid to protect were never actually in danger of being cut down, meaning that the actual climate benefit of these donations has been negligible.
- “At first glance, big corporations appear to be protecting great swaths of U.S. forests in the fight against climate change.”
- “The market for these credits (earned by paying to reduce atmospheric GHG concentrations) is booming, according to BloombergNEF, a clean-energy research group. In the first 10 months of this year, companies used more than 55.1 million carbon credits to offset their emissions (equivalent to the pollution from 12 million cars), a 28% increase from the same period in 2019.”