Allowance for CO₂ emissions: Many certificates do not keep this promise
Photo: Jan Woitas / picture alliance / dpa
According to a report, the United Nations (UNO) broker partially ineffective CO₂ certificates.
These do not protect the climate, reports the newspaper "Wirtschaftswoche" on joint research with the online magazine "Flip".
It is said that the UN operates a website for CO₂ certificates.
In the form of an online shop, consumers and companies could offset emissions there at particularly low cost - sometimes for just a few cents per ton of CO₂.
This is a fraction of the usual costs of several euros per ton.
The idea behind the CO₂ certificates is like a kind of selling of indulgences and has become big business.
A certificate is issued when CO₂ is saved somewhere in the world - for example through projects that protect forests or install solar systems.
Each certificate corresponds to one tonne of CO₂ saved.
Companies can buy these certificates and thus offset their emissions without reducing them themselves.
They can then describe their products as »climate-neutral« in an advertising campaign.
"Nevertheless, it all bears the UN seal, I think that's problematic"
This global trade is repeatedly criticized.
Research by "Zeit", the British daily newspaper "Guardian" and the British reporter pool "SourceMaterial" had only recently uncovered: An organization made it possible for large corporations such as SAP, Boeing or Disney to do greenwashing with CO₂ certificates.
The organization had used questionable methods when evaluating certificates for forest protection projects - according to the research, the projects saved significantly less CO₂ than estimated.
(Here you can read more about it.)
What is new is the accusation that the United Nations could also be involved in the fraud.
You played a key role in building up the global market for climate compensation.
According to their own statements, “Flip” and “Wirtschaftswoche” examined, among other things, a dam project in Brazil.
A Brazilian company offers certificates for this project via the UN online shop.
According to the responsible employees of the operator, the dam would have been built without the money from the certificates.
The project therefore does not save any additional emissions.
The certificates associated with it are therefore likely to be worthless.
According to independent experts, large quantities of such invalid UN certificates are currently in circulation.
The climate researcher Martin Cames from the Öko-Institut, for example, assumes that up to 85 percent of the UN projects do not help the climate as they claim.
"Nevertheless, it all bears the UN seal, I think that's problematic," said Cames, according to the research.
Experts have been calling for stricter rules on the climate protection market for some time.
The former environment minister of Panama recently spoke to SPIEGEL of "fraud on climate protection and consumers." (Read the interview here .)
Despite repeated requests, the UN reportedly did not comment on the results of the research.