To theoretically reduce their carbon footprint, The Wall Street Journal reveals many major corporations are buying up huge numbers of carbon offsets in order to achieve their goal of taking action on climate change resulting from internal or external pressure campaigns without having to take radical measures, like ending the use of fossil fuels. The only problem, according to The Journal, is that now that renewable energy is self-sustaining (in theory), companies are just shifting money to other established companies that does little to reduce their carbon foot print and the increased demand results in a similar situation to an asset bubble. From The WSJ:
Surging demand for credits is being driven by companies, often under pressure from investors, governments and customers, to reduce their net carbon footprint. More than 5,000 companies have signed a U.N. pledge to eliminate or offset their greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. Around a third of the companies in the S&P 500 index now have such pledges, up from 1% in 2018, a Bank of America study found.
Sales of carbon credits in the voluntary market that includes the CDM reached nearly $2 billion for the first time last year, according to environmental finance data provider Ecosystem Marketplace, and estimates of the market’s size over the next decade range from $50 billion to $180 billion annually, according to the carbon-credit industry trade group Taskforce on Scaling the Voluntary Carbon Markets.
While that is much smaller than the markets that grew out of strict cap-and-trade regimes imposed by governments in Europe and elsewhere to force major polluters to limit their carbon output, the voluntary market plays an outsize role in efforts by a broad cross-section of corporations to position themselves as good environmental stewards.
The CDM represented an early effort to establish a carbon-credit market. What its designers didn’t realize at the time was how quickly renewables would blossom, fed by separate government subsidies that drove huge increases in scale, which in turn lowered prices of components for solar panels and wind turbines. These days, the cost of generating electricity from such sources is roughly on par with that of fossil fuels.
Not only did the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announce an investigation into the carbon trading market three months ago, but United Airlines Chief Executive Scott Kirby is highly critical of carbon offsets calling them borderline fraud.
Kirby essentially states carbon offsets are more about virtue signalling when the carbon credits companies buy are used to highlight a company’s commitment to fighting climate change but lack any substance. Instead, The Journal says United is investing money in technologies to trap carbon dioxide emissions and jet fuel alternatives that are more realistic.
Environmentalists got the idea for this system of indulgences from the Catholic Church who sold indulgences as a way for people to offset their sins so they could enter Heaven. An ancient practice that has made a comeback with the blessing of Pope Francis. The only difference is that the context of environmentalist’s indulgences is to sell them based on guilt, resulting from greens shaming people for their wealth or lifestyles.
Carbon offsetting is also how Al Gore is able to justify his lucrative lifestyle while making money hand-over-fist. Fortunately, his carbon offset-based exchange, CCX, went belly-up in 2010. Even in 2019, ProPublica published an investigative report detailing how carbon offsets do next to nothing to achieve the goals they outline such as absorb or offset carbon emissions and prevent deforestation.
Aside from environmentalist philosophy and ethics being both grounded in sacrificial ethics, seeking to sacrifice mankind to the needs of nature, carbon offsetting proves the environmentalist movement is religious in nature. This is one more concrete example that proves it.