In the article ““The controversial proposal of the oil lobby: making petrol carbon neutral”, the industry-oriented environmental research organisation CONCAWE proposes to market fossil petrol and diesel as “carbon neutral” by investing in low priced afforestation projects to offset their impact. This would make it possible to create “a climate-friendly alternative to electric cars” for a surcharge of 15-30 cents per litre.
This is a textbook example of how offsetting can be harmful. This is because the less desirable option, carbon offsetting, is impeding the more desirable option, electric mobility with renewable power.
In our study “Requirements for carbon offsetting”, we have identified three product categories – incompatible, outdated and convertible product categories. We only consider offsetting to be meaningful for the last category. In the other cases, offsetting stands in the way of worldwide decarbonisation and the development of the new technologies to achieve that goal.
We have time and again publicly pointed out the limited usefulness of carbon offsetting.
Links and further information
Dagens Nyheter article: “The controversial proposal of the oil lobby: making petrol carbon neutral” (Swedish)
atmosfair study: “Limits and requirements of carbon offsetting” (German)
TAZ interview: “The climate-neutral bluff” (German)