Carbon offsetting abroad
Switzerland must at least halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 – but the Government and Parliament are unwilling to do this through their own efforts in Switzerland. They are instead relying largely on carbon offset projects in the Global South. This violates climate justice.
What it is about
Dubious emission reduction calculations have repeatedly elicited criticism of the voluntary carbon offset market. However, offset certificates are not only available for purchase by private players. Switzerland is the first country to turn to carbon offsetting projects approved through bilateral agreements with countries in the Global South, as a means of fulfilling its official climate targets under the Paris Agreement.
Alliance Sud is critical of this inglorious pioneering role for several reasons. For one thing, a wealthy Switzerland is denying the technological possibilities that have long existed for further reducing its domestic emissions, instead using money to shift responsibility abroad. For another, in many instances, the real utility of compensation projects to the global climate cannot be proven beyond doubt – and this ultimately undermines the rationale of carbon offset projects.
Rather than attempting to "offset" its own emissions, and besides making deeper cuts at home, Switzerland should fund more climate protection abroad, as a way of making its fair contribution to climate justice.
Alliance Sud monitors the offset projects approved by the Swiss government for their climate benefits and their impact on local people in partner countries.