Carbon credits: worthless or useless or both

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Action needed to make carbon offsets from forest conservation work for climate change mitigation
www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.ade3535
Editor’s Summary:
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) projects are intended to decrease carbon emissions from forests to offset other carbon emissions and are often claimed as credits to be used in calculating carbon emission budgets. West et al . compared the actual effects of these projects with measurable baseline values and found that most of them have not reduced deforestation significantly, and those that did had benefits substantially lower than claimed. Thus, most REDD projects are less beneficial than is often claimed.

DB2

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From the above article by West et al.
“If we replace the ex-ante baselines adopted by the projects with the deforestation observed in the SCs, our estimates suggest that only 5.4 million (6.1%) of the 89 million expected offsets from the REDD+ projects would be associated with additional carbon emission reductions.”

DB2

– A total of 39 of the top 50 emission offset projects, or 78% of them, were categorised as likely junk or worthless…
– Eight others (16%) look problematic…
– The efficacy of the remaining three projects (6%) could not be determined definitively…

DB2

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Carbon credits is not a bad idea. Some industries find carbon reduction difficult, impossible, or very costly. Buying carbon credits instead makes sense.

The message is the program needs to be revised based on real world experience.

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Indeed.

DB2
1234567 all good children go to heaven

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Traders in CO2 Credits Saddled With Vast Stranded-Asset Pile
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/traders-in-co2-credits-saddled-with-vast-stranded-asset-pile-1.1962132#:~:text=It’s%20the%20latest%20in%20a,world’s%20largest%20independent%20commodity%20trader
A number of major carbon traders are finding that offsets they bought may now be valueless. Trafigura Group, the world’s largest trader of carbon-removal credits, has suspended a consignment as it awaits the results of a probe into the forestry project behind the units. The situation has led the company to replace the offsets in a contract with a corporate client and instead keep the stranded credits on its own books…

It’s the latest in a string of cases in which traders handling carbon credits are having to treat such assets as stranded. Just over 75 million carbon credits currently lie dormant on the accounts of Vitol SA, the world’s largest independent commodity trader. And Dutch trader ACT Commodities Group BV and ACT Financial Solutions, which are both units of SMS Holding BV, last year wrote off about 1.5 million credits…

Vitol and ACT’s stranded offsets are known as emissions reduction units (ERUs). These were first issued under an old United Nations program that’s since faced heavy criticism, with roughly 75% of the units issued now thought to be useless.

DB2

There are estimates that by 2025 CO2 emissions will begin to drop globally. The story you posted had to begin to happen.

That will be interesting to see; it seems quite unlikely to me. Would you care to make a wager (proceeds to a charity chosen by the winner)?

The credits are useless because of all the examples given upthread. I don’t know if that was inevitable.

DB2

I do not gamble.

just adding my 20

“Vast swathes of land across Australia’s desert Outback have been earmarked for native forest regeneration, which is meant to offset emissions as new trees suck up carbon. But researchers have found that across almost 80 percent of these plantations forest growth was either stagnant – or that woodlands were shrinking.”

Australian human-induced native forest regeneration carbon offset projects have limited impact on changes in woody vegetation cover and carbon removals
Macintosh et al.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-024-01313-x
Abstract:
Carbon offsets are a widely used climate policy instrument that can reduce mitigation costs and generate important environmental and social co-benefits. However, they can increase emissions if they lack integrity.

We analysed the performance of one of the world’s largest nature-based offset types: human-induced regeneration projects under Australia’s carbon offset scheme. The projects are supposed to involve the human-induced regeneration of permanent even-aged native forests through changes in land management.

We analysed 182 projects and found limited evidence of regeneration in credited areas. Changes in woody vegetation cover within the areas that have been credited also largely mirror changes in adjacent comparison areas, outside the projects, suggesting the observable changes are predominantly attributable to factors other than the project activities.

The results add to the growing literature highlighting the practical limitations of offsets and the potential for offset schemes to credit abatement that is non-existent, non-additional and potentially impermanent.

DB2

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Planting trees in a desert would seem problematic. Perhaps cacti would do better.

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This type of ineffectiveness has been seen in projects in other parts of the world. See posts upthread.

“A total of 39 of the top 50 emission offset projects, or 78% of them, were categorised as likely junk or worthless…”

DB2