Statement: 90% of Verra Carbon Credits are worthless “Virtual Credits”

Essays by Eric Worrall

The guard accused Verra Carbonsells credits to climate champions like Disney, Shell and Gucci, not worthy of the newspaper they are printed in.

Revealed: more than 90% of the largest supplier’s rainforest carbon offsets are worthless, analysis shows

Verra carbon standard inquiry finds most are ‘ghost credits’ and could exacerbate global warming

Patrick Greenfield
@pgreenfielduk Thursday, January 19, 2023 01.00 AEDT

Forest carbon offsets are approved by the world’s leading supplier and used by Disney, Shell, gucci and other large corporations are largely worthless and could make global warming worse, according to a new investigation.

Research on Verra, the world leading carbon standard for rapid development Voluntary settlement of $2 billion (£1.6 billion) market, has found that, based on analysis of a significant percentage of projects, more than 90% of their rainforest offset credits – among the most commonly used by companies – is likely to be “virtual credit” and does not represent a real carbon reduction.

The analysis raises questions about credits purchased by a number of internationally renowned companies – some of which have labeled their products “carbon neutral” or told consumers they can fly, buy new clothes or eat certain foods without making the climate crisis worse.

The nine-month investigation was carried out by the Guardian, a German weekly. die Zeit and source material, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization. It is based on a new analysis of scientific studies of the rainforest map of Verra.

Read more:

Vera Carbon gave the following response;

Verra’s Response to the Guardian’s Article on Carbon Offset

JANUARY 18, 2023

  • The Guardian, based on work with Die Zeit and SourceMaterial, incorrectly stated that Verra-certified REDD+ project are over-issuing carbon credits consistently and substantively.
  • The statements in this article are based on studies using “integrated controls” or similar methods that do not take into account project-specific factors that cause deforestation. As a result, these studies have massively miscalculated the impact of REDD+ projects.
  • Verra develops and continually improves the best science and technology-based methodologies available through close consultations with a wide range of academics and experts. This ensures that the project baselines used to calculate carbon credits are solid and serve as a reliable standard for measuring the impact of REDD+ projects.

Verra was disappointed to see an article published in the Guardian, developed with Die Zeit and SourceMaterial, inaccurately claiming that REDD+ projects are consistently and substantively over-issuing carbon credits. Verra worked closely with both publications prior to publication to explain why this claim is untrue, as it is based on studies using “synthetic control” methods or similar method. We want to share this information with stakeholders and the broader climate community.

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As far as I know The Guardian has not stated that the purchasers of the credits were aware of the alleged low quality of Vera’s credits.

What can I say? I suspect any of us would be surprised that an economically worthless intangible product that companies buy to polish their green certification is accused of misrepresentation.

I don’t know if the Guardian’s accusations are true, but if Vera is an honest provider of carbon credits, they can be very lonely in my opinion.


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