Straight to content

New law opens a carbon offset market in EU – a major setback in the fight for climate justice

NGOs reject the approval of a certification system for carbon offsets in the EU

Posted in category:
Published on:
reading time 2 minutes

Yesterday, April 10, 2024, members of the EU Parliament approved a framework for certifying carbon removal projects in the EU. This legislation allows accounting for the carbon supposedly being “removed” from the atmosphere through technological or land-based projects. Each ton of accounted “removed” carbon will be turned into a certificate that can be used by EU member states (and companies) to offset their emissions. In a nutshell, the legislation opens up a carbon offset market in the EU, which will be used, among others, to greenwash and water down the Union’s 2050 climate targets.

The Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) legislation poses a real risk for the climate and for the people living in and around the areas where the projects will be established, in particular for small-scale farmers, as offsets have shown to fuel land grabbing and rights violations. The European Union must urgently realign its policies to support real climate action, not false solutions.

The legislation remains uncertain on many key fundamental issues, such as whether CRCF certificates will be allowed in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme or if credits from the voluntary carbon market(opens in new window) are included. Now, the legislation has to be adopted by the Council before being published in the EU Official Journal and entering into force 20 days later.

As part of the Real Zero Europe(opens in new window) campaign, SOMO joined the many voices urging the EU to reject the CRCF legislation(opens in new window) . With yesterday’s approval, however, real and just climate action will be once again delayed. More than 20 years of carbon offset projects being implemented across the world have shown that offsets are a dangerous distraction from the tasks at hand: phasing out fossil fuels and reducing consumption in the Global North and world elites.

Carbon offsets have no place in any real climate policy. By design, the offset industry’s main objective is to maintain business-as-usual, which already creates terrible consequences, mainly on forest-dependent populations, small farmer communities and Indigenous Peoples. It is an industry that fundamentally relies on and amplifies inequality and does nothing to solve the climate crisis; as such, it must be stopped.”

Joanna Cabello, Senior Researcher, Climate Justice at SOMO

The Real Zero Europe campaign will keep denouncing the failures and injustices of using carbon offsets as a climate policy inside the EU and beyond. Read the campaign’s press release here(opens in new window) .

Do you need more information?

Posted in category:
Published on:

Related news

Don't want to miss anything?

Sign up for our newsletter and always stay up to date on information and analysis on corporate power issues.