Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

While the price of carbon offsets has more than tripled since June (“Carbon offsets price rises as green pushes demand)” Report, 6 January) the lack of scrutiny of such schemes enables companies to set unrealistic targets and hide their lack of action. Many net zero targets implicitly rely on tree planting and other soil hunger initiatives, instead of actually reducing emissions.

For example, Oxfam research has found that the net zero targets of just four major oil and gas companies could require an area of ​​land to be deforested more than twice the size of the UK. It will rise to an area almost as large as the Amazon if the entire energy sector follows its example.

Offsetting on this scale is not only unlikely, but it also runs the risk of driving up food prices and increasing hunger, especially in developing countries where climate change is hitting hardest.

Setting net zero targets and investing in nature are both commendable, but companies also need to take bold steps to reduce carbon emissions much closer to home.

Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah
CEO, Oxfam, Oxford, United Kingdom

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