When creating the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the Kyoto Protocol described three main aims: meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets, sustainable development, and providing emissions cuts for the lowest cost. This study argues that these three aims represent powerful discourses, justifying the European Union’s continued reliance on offset credits from the CDM. Furthermore, when advising policy-makers, NGOs may find it difficult to overtly oppose offsetting due to the power of these ideas. However, it also argues that these three discourses may provide some opportunities for NGOs to form new narratives, highlighting some of the contradictions inherent in offsetting.
Companies selling in the European Union will no longer be able to claim that their products are carbon or climate neutral, the EU has provisionally agreed. This victory against greenwashing corresponds to longstanding demands from climate campaigners to eliminate the use of offsets and send a signal to the voluntary carbon market.