Carbon Offsets Not Welcome Here
An Article for Climate Change Corp

by Larry Lohmann

first published 27 February 2007

Corporations wanting a positive environmental image should refuse to buy carbon credits from "carbon offset" projects. Such projects, in addition to licensing "pollution as usual" in the North, are reinforcing the power of some of the most oppressive and heaviest-polluting industries in countries such as India, South Africa, Brazil, Ecuador and Uganda. Only a few per cent of carbon credits from official UN projects are generated by renewable energy projects. Most come from big installations that destroy industrial gases or burn methane from waste dumps or coal mines.

Carbon market reforms are not going to solve these problems. Carbon-saving schemes that respect community rights are likely to be too fiddly, expensive, low-yield, or difficult to implement to be viable in a market.

Instead of investing in "offsets", responsible companies will push for structural, long-term social changes that can help keep coal, oil and gas in the ground.

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