Food for thougt: Which offsets really work?

Here’s a provocative new article in The Guardian, arguing that carbon offsets to protect rainforests from future logging so far just don’t work:

Since the Article 6 “ITMO” process is similar to offsetting in that it has to rely on assured emission mitigation effects … do we have a standard for which kind of emission reduction projects we want to admit? More efficient school cookstoves, for example, might reduce firewood consumption in the school, but lead to increased firewood consumption elsewhere via rebound effects in the market.

The strictest option would be to admit only those that physically sequester the carbon into storage and where the storage can be examined and where the stored carbon cannot be emitted again in the future.

Just food for thought :slight_smile:

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And this is literally impossible. No, there is a very different lesson from that article, and I think I have to record a lecture or something about it… So, I wrote this paper for my Thesis… :slight_smile:
Reference: Chapter two of

The lesson here is that we have uncertainties about the future and accountants don’t like that. So they design systems that pretend that there is no uncertainty.

That “certainty is better” bias was the major reason the Clean Development Mechanism was so heavily criticized for: It made it easiest for end-of-pipe projects flaring non-CO2 greenhouse gases to make obscene amounts of money, to the point where entire refrigerator factories were build in China to flare more HFC23 refrigerant.
On the other hand, for sustainable and transformative project types it was near impossible to gain any income under the CDM (even simple stuff like composting, even worse for city transport projects) are BY THEIR VERY NATURE imprecise, because the difference between the Project Scenario (observable) and the Baseline (non-observable, negotiated) is larger for more transformative projects.

REDD+ is ultra transformative and ultra imprecise. Even the questions that I had to answer “from the academic literature on the topic” implied that the only possible way to protect the Amazon is to give more money to the Colonial Frontier Cattle Ranchers (I kid you not), while I was not even legally allowed to speak to indigenous peoples without an official invite (a reasonable rule, given past transgressions by European academics)…

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