The Stream

COP26: Is carbon offsetting a stalling tactic?

On Tuesday, November 2 at 19:30 GMT:
Carbon offsetting is a way some companies and countries are attempting to counteract the greenhouse gases they emit. Offsetting involves putting money into funds dedicated to reducing emissions elsewhere. But critics say the mechanism allows wealthy companies to carry on with polluting behaviour rather than cutting emissions. Carbon offset funds can be linked to projects for reforestation, renewable energy, or funding climate mitigation for poorer communities.

At COP26, a two-week UN climate conference to be attended by world leaders in Scotland, carbon offsetting will be on the agendas of many nations seeking to reduce their total emissions. One of the challenges facing climate negotiators will be to establish a unified accounting framework for buying and selling carbon offsets on an international level.

Does the mechanism actually work? For those who support buying carbon offsets, a global carbon market could significantly reduce the world’s CO2 emissions. But for some environmental groups, the benefit of offsetting is debatable and considered a stalling tactic to avoid actual CO2 reduction and continue activities that will worsen the climate emergency.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll discuss carbon offsetting. How useful is it in fighting the global climate emergency?

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Umair Irfan, @umairfan
Senior science reporter, Vox

Yeb Sano, @YebSano
Former climate negotiator

Shuchi Talati, @sktalati
Chief of Staff for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, US Department of Energy