Offsetting: A dangerous distraction - 2009

Scientists tell us that taking action on climate change is more urgent than ever.

A Dangerous Distraction
Since 1997 offsetting has been championed as a key tool to deliver:

  • Cuts in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Financial and technological flows to developing countries.

What's offsetting?

Offsetting is a tool used by countries to help reach their carbon dioxide emissions targets.

Instead of cutting their own emissions they can pay for developing countries to cut their emissions instead.

In detail

Friends of the Earth's new report: A Dangerous Distraction examines the record of the main offset scheme - the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

It looks at the likely effects of expanding offsetting as proposed in the UN climate talks.

The report shows that in practice offsetting isn't leading to global emissions reductions or benefiting developing countries.

Instead it is simply leading to more ingenious ways to avoid cutting emissions.

Offsetting responsibility

A Dangerous Distraction finds that offsetting is:

  • Profoundly unjust
  • Fundamentally flawed
  • Cannot be reformed.

Find out more

Full report ( PDF†  889k) 
Executive summary ( PDF†  572k) 

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