Leaders of two UK environmental charities have written to Mark Carney, the UN climate envoy and former governor of the Bank of England, to raise concerns about a plan for carbon offsetting that could result in billions of new carbon credits being sold around the world.

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John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, and Craig Bennett, the chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts, wrote to Carney this week to raise concerns that the taskforce’s recommendations would not close loopholes in the carbon market. They wrote, “There is a danger that it becomes a large international greenwashing exercise, creating a market with low standards but high PR value.”

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Sauven told the Guardian: “This initiative risks setting a terrible example ahead of the critical carbon market negotiations at the global climate summit in Glasgow later this year. [It] seems to have ignored past failures of offsetting schemes to guarantee emission cuts. At the same time, it assumes that the natural world has unlimited potential to absorb climate-wrecking emissions. It fails to acknowledge that the most important thing companies must do is to reduce their own emissions and use of fossil fuels. For as long as these critical issues remain unaddressed, Carney’s scheme will serve as a giant get-out-of-jail-free card for polluting companies. It will undermine tighter controls in international agreements while doing little to actually tackle the climate emergency.”

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