The debate over carbon credits
Here’s a note from Mark Trexler as the carbon credit market nears the $50 billion mark, as noted in this article:
I share Josh Margolis’s alarm over the suggestion that voluntary carbon markets will save the world, but I have to question some of the solutions he’s bringing to the table.
1) Corporate carbon neutrality shouldn’t be thought of as a marathon. It should be about advancing societal carbon neutrality, not trying to proxy for it.
2) Most corporate pledges are about branding and environmental bona fides, not climate change mitigation. If they were, companies would start by advocating for the public policies needed to bring about societal carbon neutrality (as well as corporate carbon-neutrality, which is pretty implausible without a more favorable policy environment)
3) If companies were really thinking about climate change, many more would be funding “contribution claims” instead of offsets.
4) The right people for coming up with internal MACC’s aren’t usually even part of offsets conversations. Coming up with good internal MACCs is not easy, and a lot of offset bidgets come from marketing departments with no interest in MACCs
5) Offset purchasers have no real way of identifying offsets of the “highest quality.” Unless that changes through effective scoring systems, it will remain the big problem.
6) Not sure how offset skepticism relates to leaving the victims of climate change to founder. Are you suggesting companies should be buying offsets that correct climate change inequities? If you see direct air capture projects as “highest quality,” how do they relate to climate inequities?
If we’re right to be alarmed about unrealistic expectations for voluntary carbon markets, shouldn’t we be alarmed about unrealistic expectations for voluntary corporate carbon-neutrality commitments?