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94% Of Forest-Based Carbon Offsets Certified By Leading Global Provider Are ‘Phantom Credits’

Are carbon offsets a useful tool on the road to net zero or simply another form of greenwashing? A new investigation from The Guardian, Die Zeit and SourceMaterial leads heavily toward the latter conclusion. The report, published Wednesday, found that more than 90 percent of the rainforest offset credits offered by top carbon standard Verra are actually what The Guardian called “phantom credits” that don’t actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. “The implications of this analysis are huge,” Barbara Haya, who leads the Carbon Trading Project at the University of California, Berkeley, told SourceMaterial. “Companies are making false claims and then they’re convincing customers that they can fly guilt-free or buy carbon-neutral products when they aren’t in any way carbon-neutral.”

Heard Of ‘Net-Zero Oil’ Or “Carbon Negative” Bioenergy? In 2023 You Will

Disinformation campaigns will certainly continue in 2023, confusing and convincing ever more people that fake news is true. Still, I’m encouraged by growing interest in “pre-bunking” — inoculating people against disinformation by familiarizing them with common disinformation tropes and techniques ahead of time. This is familiar territory for DeSmog — we have unpacked and decoded fossil fuel greenwashing and climate denier messaging for more than a decade — but now that social media has turbocharged the circulation of conspiracy theories and white grievance, it’s vital to get out ahead of these messages. Researchers have been studying the effectiveness of pre-bunking for some years, and now the idea seems to be going mainstream; NPR, the Associated Press, and NBC News have all run stories about pre-bunking in recent months.

COP15 Greenwashing Alert

A little known market based initiative known as the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) may not officially be part of the negotiations between nations, but the topic has been saturating panel events and side discussions throughout the UN Biodiversity Summit underway in Montreal right now. This profile has been further heightened with the announcement today that Germany and Norway have pledged 30 Million Euro to the TNFD. Biodiversity advocates are alarmed at the sudden prominence and high level support of a process driven by corporate executives – which few understand. CSOs have referred to TNFD as ‘the next frontier on the corporate greenwashing on nature’ and raised alarm that it is trying to insert itself as a template for future state and international level regulations.

A Report-back From The COP27: Building A People’s Movement To Solve The Crisis

Clearing the FOG speaks with Kali Akuno, who is a member of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and the It Takes Roots delegation to the recent COP27, about what happened at the meeting and how they are building a growing global movement to address the climate crisis. Akuno talks about how this COP compared to previous meetings such as the greater influence of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries, repression of political expression, preventing access to movements on the front lines and the destructive influence of the United States' representatives. The COP process is failing and in response, people are creating alternative spaces for strategy and organizing.

Leading ‘Sustainable’ Investment Funds Backing Fossil Fuels, Research Finds

Major investment funds available to UK consumers are marketing themselves as “sustainable” and “ethical” while financing fossil fuel companies, research has found. Numerous asset managers are using “green” terms in their branding despite investing in oil giants, with the worst performer being a fund managed by BlackRock, a report by the Ethical Consumer magazine shows. The news comes amid growing scrutiny of “greenwashing” in the investment world, with the Financial Conduct Authority currently consulting on new rules to tackle the issue and HSBC recently having a series of adverts banned for misleading customers about the bank’s environmental efforts. Edward Lander, the report’s lead author, said: “We are in an absurd situation in which asset managers can label funds as “sustainable” while still investing in the world’s largest fossil fuel companies."

The Greenwashing Scam Behind COP27’s Flop

As the annual UN climate conference, COP27, came to a close in late November, the talks produced a lot of lofty rhetoric but little concrete progress on the gravest threat facing humanity today. There was one very important positive development: After years of demands by poor countries in the Global South suffering the worst impacts of climate disasters, the COP27 agreement finally established a “loss and damage” fund for the wealthy countries most responsible for climate change to compensate poor countries for climate disasters. Much remains undecided, including the size of the fund, its governance structure and how much countries should contribute. And even if wealthy countries pledge contributions, there’s no guarantee they’ll keep their promises — they’ve already broken the promise made in 2009 of providing $100 billion a year in climate finance for the Global South.

What Did COP27 Achieve? 

Following two weeks of negotiations built on over three decades of struggle, COP27 finally yielded a Loss and Damage fund on November 20. The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan was gavelled in the early hours of Sunday, two days after the summit was scheduled to end, as negotiations ran into overtime on key standing issues. “The ultimate test of this COP is that it responded to the voices of the vulnerable,” stated Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman during the closing plenary. “The establishment of a Loss and Damage fund is not charity. It is a down payment on our shared futures. It is a down payment on climate justice.” Pakistan served as chair of the G77 and China bloc, which represents 134 countries, and played an instrumental role in getting Loss and Damage on the agenda.

Greenwashing Governments And Oil Companies Turned COP27 Into A Disaster

The international climate talks in Egypt — the 27th Conference of Parties to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP27 — have become a dystopian nightmare: Oil companies, dictators and greenwashers captured the process more effectively than ever. But there is hope: Alliances are taking shape — between civil society, scientists and labor — that aim to break the fossil fuel companies’ deathly grip on climate policy. This year’s United Nations climate summit, which ends on November 17 at the luxury Sharm el-Sheikh resort, is the first to which oil and gas companies were invited to participate in the official program of events. Rachel Rose Jackson of Corporate Accountability commented that “COP27 looks like a fossil fuel industry trade show.”

The US Is Presenting A Bad, Distracting Plan At UN Climate Talks

Carbon offsets—a business this new U.S. plan seems poised to grow—have been especially controversial; numerous stories and studies over the past several years have suggested they may be worse than useless, plagued by accounting problems while essentially giving companies a green light to keep emitting. As climate talks kicked off in Egypt this week and U.S. Democrats braced for a possible shellacking in Tuesday’s elections, climate envoy John Kerry floated a new initiative for helping countries finance emissions reductions. Hauling out a favorite line, Kerry told The Wall Street Journal that “no government in the world has enough money to affect the transition,” referencing the $1.3 trillion in annual funding developing countries have demanded richer ones furnish by 2030.

Egypt Hires ‘Greenwash’ PR Firm To Help Organise COP27

The US public relations firm helping Egypt organise COP27 also works for major oil companies and has been accused of greenwashing on their behalf, openDemocracy can reveal. Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which has worked for ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco, is managing communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference, which will take place next month in Sharm El Sheikh. Hill+Knowlton’s clients have also included Coca-Cola, which last month was controversially named as a sponsor of the conference despite having been declared the world’s worst corporate plastic polluter for four years in a row. Kathy Mulvey, accountability campaign director at the Union of Concerned Scientists – a non-profit advocacy group – told openDemocracy that Hill+Knowlton had a “shameful track record of spreading disinformation” on behalf of oil companies.

Eleven Wrong Ideas On The Climate

In the various speeches on the climate, we find a large number of commonplaces, repeated a thousand times in all tones, which constitute wrong ideas, which lead, voluntarily or not, to ignoring the real issues, or to belief in pseudo-solutions. I am not referring here to negationist speeches, but to those that claim to be “green” or “sustainable”.  These are assertions of a very diverse nature: some are real manipulations, fake news, lies, mystifications; others are half-truths, or a quarter of the truth.  Many of them are full of good will and good intentions – the road to hell, as we know, is paved with them.   This is the road we are on: if we continue with business as usual – even if painted green – in a few decades we will find ourselves in a situation much worse than most of the circles of hell described by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy.

‘Carbon Offsetting’ Is Just Greenwash

Fifteen years ago, as Valentine’s Day approached, a trio of entrepreneurs took to the streets of Britain selling a brave new idea. Bearing heart-shaped helium balloons and red red roses, they told passers-by about their new company, “What we do is cheat offsetting,” they say, in what became an early viral YouTube video. “So, if you’re in a relationship and one of you does something you probably shouldn’t have, then you can come to us, and pay us a little bit of money.” To offset the infidelity, the company would invest it in a couple who promise to be faithful. The launch got widespread, shocked news coverage. The firm’s founders were invited onto broadcast media across the world to justify this nonsense. It was, of course, a stunt. Carbon offsetting was, at the time, a relatively new idea.

UK’s Jet Zero Strategy: Path To ‘Guilt-Free Travel’ Or ‘Pure Greenwash’?

As the UK recorded its first temperature higher than 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, Britain’s Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps unveiled a new plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation at the Farnborough Air Show.  The Jet Zero Strategy aims to achieve net-zero emissions from domestic flights and English airports by 2040, “so passengers can look forward to guilt-free travel,” as Shapps, Minister for Aviation Robert Courts and Minister for Transport Decarbonization Trudy Harrison put it in the foreword. However, climate activists argue that the plan promises something it can’t deliver.  “The Jet Zero strategy lands on the same day as the nation melts under record climate-change induced heat. But rather than a pragmatic plan to fully wean the aviation industry off fossil fuels, it allows the sector to carry on polluting with impunity for the next 30 years,” Transport & Environment (T&E) UK Director Matt Finch said in a statement.

Fossil Fuel Interests Are Behind Canada’s Blue Hydrogen Push

Talk to fossil fuel execs, government ministers, and industry reps these days and they’ll all tell a similar story: Blue hydrogen is the clean fuel of the future that will help Canada and the world get to net-zero emissions. It’ll power everything from airplanes to long-haul trucks and will even heat our homes. Canadian media has called blue hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas and has its emissions captured, “a key part” of the nation’s emissions-reduction strategy and “fairly clean” — a claim that echoes an infographic from ATCO, a major Canadian energy company, that said blue hydrogen produces “nearly zero emissions.” 

You Can’t ‘Green’ The Military

In 2021, the U.S. Department of Defense issued its Climate Adaptation Plan, which has been lauded by corporate media as a supposedly serious mobilization against climate change. More recently, the U.S. Army has followed suit with its own Climate Strategy. More and more frequently, Democratic politicians are learning to frame the eternal imperative of an eternally expanding military budget in the language of “greening” the military. Similar language is used by Pentagon higher-ups, and even more frequently by those from the “industry” side of the military-industrial complex. Make no mistake: the military is one of the worst polluters in the world and a huge contributor to climate change. The U.S. military owns enormous swaths of land and has a massive physical plant: by its own estimates, it outputs more carbon than all but 55 countries, and generates many other forms of pollution aside.
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