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The U.S. Is Presenting a Bad, Distracting Plan at U.N. Climate Talks

Climate envoy John Kerry has proposed relying on carbon credits to fund renewable energy in developing countries. What that really means is that the U.S. doesn’t want to pay up.

Source: The New Republic, Nov 9, 2022

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.

Protest against forest carbon offsets, UN Climate COP in Durban, South Africa, 2011. Photo: Petermann

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. “The entity that could help the most,” Kerry added, “is the private sector with the right structure.” And the structure Kerry wants to build involves enticing governments and corporations to buy so-called carbon credits, with the funds from those sales financing clean energy in developing countries. Details of the new framework are still scant, with more due to be announced tomorrow.

The private sector–led approach to climate policy hasn’t fared well over the last year. Voluntary private-sector pledges announced in 2021 have been watered down and criticized for claiming false progress toward net-zero emissions. 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 the developing world’s demands for wealthy countries to deliver climate finance grow louder than ever at COP27, the market-driven plan Kerry and other U.S. officials are endorsing looks a lot like a distraction from the issue at hand.


Read entire post here: https://newrepublic.com/article/168579/us-presenting-bad-distracting-plan-un-climate-talks