#31 The Great Carbon Offsetting Scandal
It is the fatal flaw at the heart of both the EU and US climate policies which threatens to make a scientifically robust and fair climate deal in Copenhagen impossible. It is the reason that when the EU says it is cutting greenhouse gases 20% by 2020 or 30% if there is a global deal in Copenhagen, they are in fact putting a cut of just 10 or 15% on the negotiating table. And it is the reason why when the UK says it is cutting greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 it is actually committing itself to a cut of only 40% within the UK.
This week we take a look at the creative accounting mechanism which makes this sleight of hand possible – carbon offsetting under the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism – more commonly known at the CDM.
We take the argument against large-scale carbon offsetting under the CDM to the head of the Market-Based Instruments Unit at the European Commission, Yvon Slingenberg; and we hear from Tom Picken, Head of the International Climate Change at Friends of the Earth, who is co-author of the most accessible report yet on the case against carbon offsetting under the CDM, “A Dangerous Distraction.”
- A Dangerous Distraction (Friends of the Earth)
- Friends of the Earth petition
- The Rich World Can Relax: we just need the poor world to cut their emissions by 125% (George Monbiot, The Guardian, 17 July 2009)
- Money and Lobbyists Hurt European Efforts to Curb Gases (New York Times, 11 Dec, 2008)
- Understanding the European Commissions Climate Communication (Third World Network, March 2009)
- Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen (European Commission, December 2008)
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