There is a bit of a dangerous and misleading path to “net-zero” being popularized across private companies via using Carbon Offsets. There are 3 key issues at play here:
- Not all offsets are creating equal – some are meaningful and others are not at all
- It’s probably better for companies to reach net-zero emissions more slowly by actually changing how they make, source, and deliver their goods and services rather than doing it quickly via offsets
- Focusing on Net-Zero as the end goal is not the best target. Rather, we’d like to see more companies focusing how they are positively impacting larger, system changes.
Now not all offsets are made equal, and some are much more legitimate than others, but by and large, most offsets are also a form of creative accounting. They allow a company who’s core product or service is highly destructive to the environment to avoid improving that at all via focusing on offsets.
Net-Zero is not the right target. As this article from The Conservation points out, Net-Zero licenses the philosophy of “burn now and pay later”. As in, keep doing what you are doing and we’ll give you some accounting tools to make yourselves feel better later on.
Carbon offsets are only useful as a companion tool next to making significant changes to how you operate. They are being given way too much clout and recognition and it’s a dangerous game.
We call bullshit.