Greenwash Myth Busting Resource

Greenwash Myth 6 – Carbon Offsetting

Offsetting doesn’t do anything to reduce emissions – it only tries to compensate for them.

CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) only addresses emissions above a 2019 baseline. It starts in 2021 but because of the pandemic it will be a few years before aviation recovers and any off-setting is done at all.

CORSIA takes no account of non CO2 aviation emissions (water vapour, methane) which in the short term cause twice as much greenhouse effect as CO2 ( ).

It only applies to international flights.

And it will be voluntary until 2027, not compulsory, is not legally binding and has no enforcement procedures to ensure compliance.

Most off-setting schemes are unrealistic, such as planting trees that will take decades to grow, to off-set today’s emissions.  An analysis of similar EU schemes showed that 85% of emissions reductions were over-estimated and/or may have occurred anyway without off-setting (

The off-setting required to counter the proposed expansion of Bristol airport would require planting trees on an area the size of North Somerset every four months ( ).

Finally the cost set is less than $10 per tonne CO2, which makes it commercially more attractive than measures that could actually address the problem.

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