Inside SBTi row that has divided carbon offsets market

Apr14,2024



When the biggest funder and promoter of $2 billion carbon offset The market gathered in London last month, the gathering was presented as a series of technical discussions on topics such as emissions Accounting. But, at least to some attendees, there also appeared to be another motive – making the case for why the Science-Based Targets Initiative, the largest and most respected validator of corporate climate targets, is the main obstacle to the development of one. market What advocates consider important in the fight Climate change,
In a world full of greenery, SBTI has become a gold standard in emissions accountability due to its strict criteria for net-zero schemes. This currently limits how corporations can use offsets – credits that companies can buy to explicitly offset their pollution – to achieve their green goals. The issue is one of the most divisive among climate experts. Powerful supporters, including former US climate envoy John Kerry, argue they need to shift funds to vital sustainability projects, while critics say it is almost impossible to verify the tools' true impact.
The meetings last month were hosted by the Bezos Earth Fund, a proponent of expanding voluntary carbon markets and one of SBTI's two main funders.
He was placed in a workhouse in the Clerkenwell district of London. Two SBTI representatives were present and faced implicit and direct requests from senior leaders of major carbon market standards and lobbying groups to relax their positions on carbon offsets, the people said.
A month later, on April 9, SBTI said something about offsets that surprised even its employees – the group said it would relax its rules on how companies can use carbon credits to reduce their reported emissions. How can I use it? This would be a boon for the carbon offset market, which has been rocked by recent turmoil. BloombergNEF says such a change could help boost annual demand by $1.1 trillion in 2050.
The move angered SBTI employees, who in a letter dated April 10 asked the CEO and the board to resign. He argued that the board violated SBTI rules and procedures by taking a unilateral decision, instead of relying on the guidance of the SBTI's independent technical council, which was not informed or consulted.
On April 12, the SBTI added a clarification to its previous statement, emphasizing that “no changes have been made to SBTI's current standards,” and that any changes to its rules would go through all of its standards processes.



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