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Environmental Justice and Human Rights Organizations Address Global Leaders Ahead of COP26: Carbon Offsets Don’t Stop Climate Change

Amazon Watch 6 Oct 2021

Oakland, CA – Today, a broad coalition of over 170 NGOs, advocacy groups, and grassroots organizations spanning the globe released a statement opposing the usage of carbon offset programs, declaring that carbon offset programs are false solutions that will not solve the climate crisis.

Carbon offset programs are increasingly prevalent in corporate and governmental climate change plans. United States Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Barrasso (R-WY) proposed legislation last week to establish a nationwide reforestation effort that would involve the sale of carbon offset credits, while tech company Amazon recently announced its own offset program in the Amazon rainforest. Carbon offsets are expected to be a major point of discussion at the upcoming COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, and countries and firms are releasing “net zero emissions” commitments in the interim which forgo necessary emissions reductions in favor of offsets.

Policymakers and businesses alike must reject carbon offsets if they are committed to climate justice. Environmental and human rights groups across the world are opposed to carbon offset programs because:

  • Offsets cannot truly “offset” fossil fuel production: the latest science indicates that offsets cannot keep pace with large-scale carbon emissions.
  • Offsets perpetuate environmental injustice, allowing polluters to continue poisoning BIPOC and working-class communities.
  • Offsets are likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions by allowing polluters to pollute while sequestering carbon in volatile, impermanent reservoirs.
  • Offsets often result in violations of the rights of Indigenous and tribal peoples, as Indigenous lands are increasingly targeted by forest offset project developers.
  • Offsets undermine sustainable farming and increase consolidation in agriculture, further entrenching factory farms and monoculture at the expense of small farmers, including Black and Indigenous farmers and Tribal Nations.
  • Offsets markets create conditions for fraud and gambling, prioritizing profit-seeking traders and speculators over economic and climate justice.

To read the full press release visit Amazon Watch.