An investigation into the growing industry of “carbon offset” schemes has found that most of these “green” projects are “likely junk or worthless.”
The UK’s left-wing Guardian newspaper launched a joint investigation with Corporate Accountability, a nonprofit climate watchdog group.
The probe examined environmental projects that are supposedly aimed at offsetting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions via the voluntary carbon market (VCM).
However, the investigation found that the “vast majority” of these “carbon offset” programs are scams that do nothing to benefit the environment.
39 of the top 50 “carbon offset” projects evaluated, or 78 percent, were determined to be “likely junk or worthless.”
Researchers identify one or more “fundamental failings” in their structure and operations.
The investigators found that, as a general rule, “green” climate projects that claim to tackle GHG emissions are not what they seem.
At best, the projects greatly exaggerate their climate benefits while underestimating the potential harm caused by what they are doing.
At worst, their leaders are enriching themselves with investment money.
Data for the study was collected from Allied Offsets.
Allied Offsets is the world’s largest and most comprehensive emissions trading database.
The organization aggregates information about projects traded within the VCM ecosystem from their very inception.
It then produces data that shows how effective or not their efforts truly are.
Besides the 78 percent of projects that were categorized as “likely junk or worthless,” another eight, or 16 percent, were found to be “problematic.”
The “problematic” schemes had at least one fundamental failing, meaning there is a high chance they are also junk.
The investigation notes that only three out of 50 emissions-related climate projects could possibly pass the test of being legitimate operations.
Essentially, the probe found that most of the “carbon offset” industry is basically a scam with very few, if any, exceptions.
However, the report notes that the three projects that were not dubbed as “problematic” or “likely junk or worthless” could not be considered trustworthy.
Of those three projects, not a single one could be properly assessed or classified due to a lack of available public information.
This means that, in all likelihood, 100 percent of the top currently operational “carbon offset” operations are probably scams.
Additionally, the investigation found that the vast majority of carbon credits that have been traded so far, about $1.16 billion worth, are attached to the projects classified as “likely junk or worthless.”
This leaves pretty much zero “carbon offset” projects that are actually legitimate.
“The criteria for assessing whether a project is likely junk was based on whether there was ‘compelling evidence’ or a high risk that the project could not guarantee additional GHG emission cuts,” Power Technology’s Annabel Cossins-Smith reported.
“In some cases, there was evidence to suggest that projects were leaking further, additional emissions or simply shifting emissions elsewhere.
“In other cases, evidence was found to suggest that a project’s climate benefits had been exaggerated.”
The research also found that the carbon market at large is not doing anything to stop “global warming” or “climate change,” despite the vast flow of cash into the industry.
Instead, the carbon market was found to be “actively exacerbating the climate emergency,” according to the report.
“The ramifications of this analysis are huge, as it points to systemic failings of the voluntary market, providing additional evidence that junk carbon credits pervade,” said Anuradha Mittal, director of the Oakland Institute think tank.
“We cannot afford to waste any more time on false solutions.
“The issues are far-reaching and pervasive, extending well beyond specific verifiers.
“The VCM is actively exacerbating the climate emergency.”