The importance of representing all voices when it comes to the climate

The Guardian article published on 18th January (Revealed: more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest provider are worthless, analysis shows) raises concerns with methodologies used to calculate carbon dioxide reductions from a number of projects set up to cut emissions by avoiding deforestation and forest degradation.

The article cites academics that take issue with highly technical elements of the methodologies used to determine the amount of emissions reductions by projects to generate carbon credits. But many other experts support the current technical elements. The article did not fairly represent the views of both sides.

Debates among scientists risk being misunderstood and taken out of context by the wider community, with unintended consequences. This is of particular concern when the science is not yet peer reviewed, as is the case of the research that the article heavily relies upon.

Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement’s net-zero goal requires the rapid expansion of carbon markets. Carbon credit standards organisations, like Verra, provide the science-based methodologies that drive quality, action and supply within voluntary carbon markets. All new methodologies are open to public consultation, where scientific input is considered – and where critics should present their views.

The voluntary carbon market and the standards that support it have helped to mobilize private action and investment – and can help us all reach the Paris climate goal.

Dirk Forrister

President & CEO
International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)

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