Local populations, big losers from carbon credit projects

Article of the week

Why this article

This week, we offer you a slightly technical article from Guardian which returns to the abuses linked to carbon credits. This measure has gradually become established in many countries around the world following international conferences such as the 1997 Kyoto Protocol or the 2015 Paris Agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG). .

The principle of a “Carbon Exchange” was thus established, allowing public or private actors to sell carbon credits to the most polluting companies in exchange for projects aimed at limiting global warming. However, since its establishment, this principle has often been criticized for the abuses it causes.

This article may be useful to final year students studying theme 5: “Environment, between exploitation and protection: global issue”. It can also give rise to a major transversal oral subject for students who combine the HGGSP and SES specialties (economic and social sciences).

If we only had to remember one quote

“Since 2011, this project has generated more than 100 million euros in revenue alone thanks to the sale, to Western companies, of carbon credits equivalent to Kenya’s national emissions in 2022, according to figures made public (but deleted since) by the project leader.”

This article from the British daily Guardian is interested in a carbon offset program which concerns a region in the north-east of Zimbabwe. As the quote we have chosen shows, this program has generated immense profits for the companies which have financialized these carbon credits for Western companies. The principle is that polluting companies can buy carbon credits to offset their GHG emissions by investing in programs that help fight global warming.

In this case, in this region of Zimbabwe, it is the Kariba project, which aims to preserve the forest from deforestation. However, as the survey shows, local populations have benefited very little from the economic benefits of this program, despite the 100 million euros in benefits recorded.

In recent years, carbon credit programs have been in crisis and heavily criticized for their lack of transparency. Indeed, the article tells us that companies that carry out carbon offset programs are not obliged to reveal the content of their profits and their investments. This system allows intermediaries to earn a large sum of money from projects intended to combat global warming.

The other observation that the article makes is that, more generally, the marketing of carbon credits has enabled financial companies, carbon desks, to reap immense profits, and some even suspect that carbon credits are used to launder the dirty money of organized crime.

Environmental protection then becomes a pretext for garnering capital.

For further

For students who would like to explore this subject, or even develop a major transversal oral subject, we can advise you to read the following articles:

And what you shouldn’t miss this week either

We can also offer first grade students, who study the concluding axis on democracy, this video which questions the future of European policies if the far right occupied 25% of the seats in Parliament after the elections of June 6 and 9, as predicted by several opinion surveys.

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