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More than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest provider are worthless, analysis shows

By Patrick Greenfield

19 Jan 2023 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

An investigation into the world's biggest carbon offsets provider has found that most are "phantom credits" and they may actually be worsening global warming. The Guardian has an exclusive report.

The forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading provider and used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could make global heating worse, according to a new investigation.

The research into Verra, the world’s leading carbon standard for the rapidly growing $2bn (£1.6bn) voluntary offsets market, has found that, based on analysis of a significant percentage of the projects, more than 90% of their rainforest offset credits – among the most commonly used by companies – are likely to be “phantom credits” and do not represent genuine carbon reductions.

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