SBTi says carbon credits are ‘ineffective’ in removing emissions

A leaked internal SBTi document has revealed that carbon credits are “ineffective” in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Reuters,  the staff-facing paper is based on a review of evidence from scientific papers and other submissions by interested parties.

The news agency says the document states that “higher quality empirical and observational evidence suggests that some or most emission reduction credits are ineffective in delivering emissions reductions”.

The paper goes on to cite cases where carbon credits have not been able to deliver the climate benefits they said they would.

If true, the news could present a major obstacle to the SBTi board’s plan of allowing companies to include offsetting greenhouse gas emissions with carbon credits as part of their emission reduction plans.

The findings are subject to further analysis and review, including from the Scientific Advisory Group, a panel comprising climate scientists from around the world. 


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Last month, it was revealed staff at the SBTi were demanding its CEO quit amid a backlash at plans to permit firms to use carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

SBTi leadership said that carbon credits, when used properly, can be a valuable tool in tackling climate change.

But the SBTi board of trustees subsequently issued a clarification to staff, saying it had not yet changed its policy and that any decisions would be “informed by the evidence”.

An SBTi spokesperson told Reuters its research on carbon offsets has not been finalised and that it would be wrong to state that there are even interim findings at this stage.

The spokesperson added: “Once we have completed the analysis, we will make the results available publicly. Until that point we will not be able to comment on the submitted evidence.”

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