A national ‘office for carbon removal’ is vital to guarantee the credibility of carbon offsetting scheme, says a new report published today (April 2) by think tank Green Alliance.
Carbon offsetting is increasingly being used by sectors like aviation as a way to meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Existing carbon offset schemes have been widely criticised for their poor environmental credentials and according to Green Alliance, there is no guarantee that a future increase in offsetting will be effective at tackling climate change.
According to the report, 73% of credits created under the biggest carbon offset scheme, the UN’s Clean Development Mechanisms, are unlikely to lead to real carbon reductions.
Under a new carbon offsetting scheme, known as CORSIA, airlines are expected to spend between £4bn to £18bn a year on carbon credits globally by 2035.
The report outlines that in its current form, CORSIA is not ambitious enough to make the necessary contribution to meeting the global goal set by the Paris climate agreement, or the UK’s legal net-zero carbon obligation.
Therefore the authors of the report have said going forward, the UK needs a new office for carbon removal to verify and oversee schemes to ensure they are robust.
They also suggest that there should be a limit on the number of carbon credits one sector can buy, and there should be separate targets, one for emission reductions and one for carbon removals.
James Elliott, policy adviser at Green Alliance said: ‘Offsetting has become a dirty word for environmentalists because of bad carbon credit schemes and the risk it will be used as an excuse to keep polluting.
‘But when you look at the numbers it’s obvious we have to remove and store a huge amount of CO2 from the atmosphere if we are to reach net-zero and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
‘Boosting tree planting and low carbon farming, alongside developing other carbon removal technologies, like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, is an urgent priority.
‘Our proposals would enable the UK to take advantage of a substantial new funding stream for nature via aviation offsetting while showing the world how these schemes can be done well.’
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