WATCH: The Ethics of Voluntary Carbon Offsets – Professor Clive Spash

10 November 2019 —

“Sales of so-called carbon offsets are soaring: Myclimate, a Swiss nonprofit whose clients include Deutsche Lufthansa AG, reported a five-fold uptake in its credits in a year. At Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest discount carrier, the number of customers making voluntary offset payments has almost doubled in 18 months.”

— Bloomberg, August 10, 2019

“Gold Standard [WWF] has reported a fourfold increase in income from individuals and small businesses paying for carbon offsets through its platform….‘We are seeing the Greta effect, the impact of Extinction Rebellion, the impact of the words of David Attenborough, the school strikes, all of these coming together.’”

— The Guardian, November 8, 2019

The following clip is an excerpt from the lecture The Brave New World of Carbon Trading by Professor and ecological economist Clive Spash, who discusses the limitations of emissions trading schemes. Video published March 11, 2010.

“Corporate power is shown to be a major force affecting emissions market operation and design. The potential for manipulation to achieve financial gain, while showing little regard for environmental or social consequences, is evident as markets have extended internationally and via trading offsets. At the individual level, there is the potential for emissions trading to have undesirable ethical and psychological impacts and to crowd out voluntary actions. I conclude that the focus on such markets is creating a distraction from the need for changing human behaviour, institutions and infrastructure.”

In 2009 Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) wrote to New Political Economy demanding that the paper entitled ‘The Brave New World of Carbon Trading’ not be published. [Nov 7, 2009: Censorship of Critique of Emissions Trading and Carbon-Offsets Schemes]

Website of Clive L. Spash, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria: https://www.clivespash.org/

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