Inside the billion-dollar market for junk carbon offsets

By Akshat Rathi

21 Nov 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Bloomberg investigates why companies often find it cheaper to buy carbon offsets rather than pay for the solutions that cut emissions - a huge problem in the fight to slow global warming.

Rising acceptance that the world needs to cut carbon emissions fast has coincided with a parallel rise in ineffective solutions to the problem. There's now real danger that tools meant to slow global warming may end up allowing more emissions. A prime example of that risk is carbon offsets.

These promissory notes offer buyers an accounting power: Emitters of planet-warming pollution get to deduct emissions from their own ledgers simply by purchasing tons of carbon offsets sourced to projects elsewhere. That's a particularly attractive power to the thousands of corporations now setting net-zero plans.

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