Are Carbon Offsets Crap? A renowned climatologist weighs in. – techcrunch

On stage this week in TC Sessions: Climate 2022, noted climate modeling expert Dr. William Collins shares why he is deeply skeptical of carbon offsets, and especially tree-based offsets.

When asked whether offsets serve as “jail-free cards” for companies eager to show they care about the climate, Collins replied that offsets are, “where As far as we can tell, there’s a good solution.” Collins said tree planting programs by companies like United Airlines are “fool’s gold.” “It is essentially impossible to monitor whether or not the stuff is going to be in the trees. As soon as you have a forest fire – game over,” he said.

You might be surprised to hear this from Collins, who directs Berkeley Lab’s Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division and the Carbon Negative Initiative. Collins also served as the lead author of several IPCC assessments, one of which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

to be clear, forest conservation is fragileespecially when there are efforts like this led by indigenous communities Instead of colonial governments and corporations. However, the track record of credited forest conservation and large-scale plantation initiatives is a different story. A 2019 publica The investigation found that “carbon credits for forest conservation” in particular “could be worse than nothing,” echoing Collins’ concerns.

Along similar lines, Collins also pointed out forest conservation pledge which was included in the Paris Agreement: “A third of the countries in the Paris Agreement are essentially saying, ‘We will not cut down our forests’ [and that] It is our primary contribution to making the planet greener.

“Guess how much they gave for [carbon] Their forests vary depending on four factors that border the country,” Collins said. He added brutally: “It tells you they’re making up numbers.” On top of that, some groups argue not enough space For all the trees that corporations wish to plant, anyway.

Beyond trees, Collins did not elaborate on other types of carbon offset programs, such as turning biomass into oil for underground storage (more on that below). Here) and atmospheric carbon removal credits. With regard to the latter, Salesforce, Microsoft and Google recently pledged to invest $500 million towards atmospheric carbon removal, even though such technology is currently unproven to scale,