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Are carbon credits doing more harm than good for the climate?

Are carbon credits doing more harm than good for the climate?
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Cyril Fourneris
Published on
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Do carbon credits really help to combat global warming, or are they counter-productive?

Under the new European EmCon directive, terms such as "climate neutral" or "climate positive", which are based on carbon offsetting, will soon disappear from supermarkets.

"At the moment, you almost get the impression that you can consume and buy whatever you want and still be climate neutral," says Miriam Thiemann, Sustainable Consumption Officer at the European Consumers' Organisation.

"You can find cheeses, flights and bank accounts that claim to be climate neutral," she adds. "In reality, the company is paying another supplier what are known as carbon credits. This means that another project, somewhere, is doing something to reduce or eliminate emissions".

For Miriam Thiemann, this method is not based on sound science, and there are many questions about the legitimacy of these 'carbon offset' suppliers.

"The problem is often that companies simply say, 'Fine, if I can pay for it and get away with it, I won't have to make any efforts to reduce emissions in my own operations'," she explains.

"This could even slow down emissions reductions because companies can just pay instead of taking real action. In reality, this derails the company's overall goal of carbon neutrality."

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