Carbon markets are broken.

Mar 5, 2024

Here are three ways we can start fixing them

1. Prioritise deep and direct emissions cuts

Carbon credits must only be used as a last resort. Rather than kick the can down the road, polluters must do everything within their ability to simply reduce their carbon footprint. Offsets should only be used to balance out emissions that cannot be practically eliminated with current technology.

2. Scale up high-integrity carbon removal

There is a global shortfall of high-integrity carbon dioxide removal. Our analysis finds that fewer than 4% of carbon credits are generated by projects that remove (and safely store) excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The other 96% claim to avoid emissions in the first place – but most fail to meet those claims when scrutinised. In the next quarter-century, industry leaders will have to close this massive gap in carbon removal.

3. Invest in long-lasting solutions

Most offset projects today are prone to short-term reversal, like a forest beset by drought and wildfire. But because carbon pollution can last in the atmosphere for thousands of years, offsets must also store carbon for millennia in order to avoid passing on emissions to future generations. Long-term solutions to carbon removal are more costly, but avoid the dangerous risk of reversal that dominates the market today.

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