All sectors of the economy need to start reducing emissions now. Offsetting gives the illusion of action as it allows big polluters to continue business as usual as long as they pay someone else, somewhere else to claim to reduce their emissions for them. But many offsets have been shown to do more harm than good. They are therefore a dangerous distraction.
Many carbon offsets take the form of “nature-based solutions” – such as growing monoculture tree plantations or attempting to lock carbon temporarily in agricultural soils. Such projects often damage ecosystems and result in land grabs and human rights violations, negatively impacting Indigenous peoples, peasant farmers and foresters. Recent investigations have shown that they also rarely compensate for polluters’ emissions.
Another dark side of carbon removals is geoengineering: technological approaches that tinker with the Earth’s ecosystems in an attempt to reduce some of the effects of climate change. Examples include capturing carbon dioxide and pumping it underground, or cutting and burning forests for energy and then capturing and storing the emissions. These processes are resource intensive, costly, haven't been proven at scale and put frontline communities disproportionately at risk of harm.
Despite the well-documented concerns, the EU is currently discussing a new law to certify the use of carbon removals as offsets. This would benefit carbon consultants rather than the EU or the planet and it would set a bad global precedent.
We cannot afford to delay implementation of the real, just solutions we need: an equitably managed phase-out of fossil fuels; fair, democratic, sustainable renewable energy that prioritizes well-being over economic growth; support to farmers for an agroecological transition toward food sovereignty; close-to-nature forestry practices; and the redirection of public subsidies from the fossil fuel industry and false solutions toward the above measures.
Join us in demanding that the EU drops its Carbon Removals Certification Framework (CRCF) plans.