Knowledge for better food systems

FOE report: A Dangerous Distraction

This report makes the case against using offsets (taking the Clean Development Mechanism as its key example of an offsetting scheme) as a means of meeting the UK's climate change targets. It argues that offsetting is having a disastrous impact on the prospects for averting catastrophic climate change.
This report makes the case against using offsets (taking the Clean Development Mechanism as its key example of an offsetting scheme) as a means of meeting the UK's climate change targets. It argues that offsetting is having a disastrous impact on the prospects for averting catastrophic climate change. It says that it is vital that the inherent and systemic flaws in the approach are recognised ahead of negotiations. These problems cannot be dealt with by simply reforming CDM; instead completely new approaches are needed that are effective and just. The report's five central arguments against offsetting are that it:
  • counts action in developing countries as part of the cuts promised in developed countries, although the science is clear that action is needed in both developed and developing countries.
  • cannot guarantee the same cuts as would have happened without offsetting.
  • is causing major delays to urgently needed economic transformations in developed countries.
  • does not ensure positive sustainable development in, or appropriate financial transfers to developing countries.
  • is profoundly unjust, fundamentally flawed and cannot be reformed.
The report says that Governments must:
  • Agree that developed countries must reduce their own emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020, excluding offsetting.
  • Reject all forms of offsetting: proposals for new and expanded offsetting schemes must be dropped, and existing offsetting mechanisms need to be scrapped.
  • Reject plans to introduce REDD offsets, and instead negotiate effective and fair mechanisms to protect the Earth's forests that do not involve offsetting.
  • Negotiate a new financial mechanism under the authority of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to ensure adequate financial flows to developing countries to support their transition to a low carbon future.
The report also refers to another FoE briefing paper for its take on forest protection and offset-based REDD mechanisms. Both this one and "Dangerous Distraction" are attached below.
 

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