Carbon Offsets from Forest Conservation Projects have Been Overestimated

Peer-Reviewed Publication


A new analysis reveals that emission reductions from forest conservation projects – sometimes used to “offset” carbon emissions from other sources – have been overestimated. According to a new study, many REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programs have not significantly reduced deforestation, and those that did had benefits substantially lower than have been claimed. “The implications of [the study’s] findings are far reaching,” write Julia Jones and Simon Lewis in a related Perspective. “Misleading offsets carry negative consequences for the climate because they are not offsetting the emissions release, for forest conservation because they are not reducing deforestation as much as claimed, and for the future finance of forest conservation because the reputational risks of being tainted by accusations of greenwash may deter future investments.”

Some private companies, individuals, and governments offset their carbon emissions by investing in projects that would prevent emissions that would have otherwise occurred, such as conservation projects designed to reduce deforestation. While carbon offsets from REDD+ programs are often traded as credits in carbon markets (with an estimated value of $1.3 billion USD) and claimed when calculating carbon emission budgets, there has been little rigorous evidence as to whether the projects deliver on their promises. Here, Thales West and colleagues evaluated 26 REDD+ projects in 6 countries worldwide and used synthetic control methods to estimate how much deforestation the projects prevented. West et al. found that most projects did not substantially reduce deforestation, and that the few that did reduced it much less than had been claimed. Furthermore, the authors show that a subset of 18 REDD+ projects have generated 62 million carbon-offset credits – 14.6 million of which have already been used by entities around the world to offset their carbon emissions. According to the study’s estimates, these projects have been used to offset nearly 3 times more carbon than their actual contributions to climate change mitigation, with 47.7 million more carbon offset-credits currently readily available on the market. “Methodologies used to construct deforestation baselines for carbon offset interventions need urgent revisions to correctly attribute reduced deforestation to the projects, thus maintaining both incentives for forest conservation and the integrity of global carbon accounting,” write West et al.






Action needed to make carbon offsets from forest conservation work for climate change mitigation



From EurekAlert!

Video Comment~cr

Then there’s this oldie but goodie.

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Dodgy Geezer
August 25, 2023 2:25 am

I have pointed out, several times, that articles like this are a waste of time. There is no point explaining that various proposed ‘Green’ initiatives do not perform well – indeed, that they often cause far more damage to the object they are trying to improve.

We are living in a world where there are no principles, beyond obtaining power and holding onto it regardless of consequences. The centers of power are well established in the big bureaucracies and quangos which drive the Americas and Europe – China and the Eastern blocs have their own systems. These bureaucracies own the politicians and tell them what to do – thus avoiding any annoying requirement to gain agreement from the mass of the populace.

There is still a need to pretend to operate democratically – they have not yet formally removed politicians completely, though any who disagree are cancelled. And the politicians have to have something to say. This is where ‘science’ is commissioned to provide justifications for whatever policy is required. At the moment in the UK there is a minor scandal over a new tax on drivers in London – justified to reduce pollution, though a scientific study found that it did not. The Mayor has been caught requiring the scientists to change their findings to comply with the policy. Nothing will happen – the story will die, the tax will be applied, and the Professor who would not bend to the politicians will be replaced.

Exactly the same thing will happen about wildfires, or birds hitting wind farms, or any other green policy. Arguing from the facts is pointless, because facts are not the issue. Power is…

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
August 25, 2023 2:49 am

Agree DG
The globalist blob is on the hunt for more cash from the hard working masses – climate alarmism is the new cash harvester and even though they have been clearly shown to be deceiving, conniving and outright conning, they are just doubling down on the lies because they will have their money, by nudge or force
The blob are not interested in accurate data, truth or fact – some will swallow the idiotic hyperbole they constantly throw out, but a growing majority are awakening to the deceit and starting to push back
The blob are on mission and we mere cash cows are there to be milked, however, we need to keep pushing back, to exposing their deceit, challenging their rhetoric, otherwise it just makes their farming easier
We must be content that many otherwise silenced people of influence are starting to openly question the narrative, it’s a trickle, but trickles lead to floods

Bryan A
Reply to  Energywise
August 25, 2023 5:16 am

Just like “Net Zero” (Nut Zero) “Carbon Offsets” are really nothing more than an attempt at fancy bookkeeping

Bryan A
Reply to  Bryan A
August 25, 2023 5:24 am

After 5 attempts to modify my above post (trying to change (fancy to creative) and unable to without receiving a message “You are posting to quickly, Slow Down” I give up.

This is how I intended the post to read…

Just like “Net Zero” (Nut Zero) “Carbon Offsets” are really nothing more than an attempt at creative bookkeeping

Reply to  Bryan A
August 25, 2023 6:39 am

I thought it’s because I was nasty to a singer of the Endless Song. Glad to see I’m back.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Bryan A
August 25, 2023 10:41 am

Right now, you have to get your post perfect from the start because the software won’t let you modify it once it is posted.

One poster said this was a problem not just here at WUWT but at other WP websites, too.

Another software update that went slightly wrong.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Bryan A
August 26, 2023 8:41 am

The editing did work for what it’s worth

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
August 25, 2023 3:03 am

Maybe they’re short on articles?

Although that seems unlikely with headlines like these

Fossil fuels being subsidised at rate of $13m a minute, says IMF
The message from Ecuador is clear: people will vote to keep oil in the ground

And this one is cute

Tropical forests face ‘massive leaf death’ from global heating, study finds
Some kinds of tree leaf could become too hot to be able to conduct photosynthesis, researchers warn

– from the ever bonkers Guardian

You see, “Models predict that once we hit a global temperature increase of 3.9 C, these forests might experience mass leaf damage.

Might, could, possibly, likely etc

Reply to  Charles Rotter
August 25, 2023 6:42 am

…also new people discover the site every day, as their first serious introduction to climastrology debunking.

Reply to  cilo
August 25, 2023 3:52 pm

Musicians in New Orleans HATE playing “The Saints Go Marching In” because they must do it every day. They do it because there might be those few people in the audience that have never heard it performed before, and have paid to hear it. So it is their albatross around their necks to do so. Instead of complaining, they smile and play the song. But it is never played at home. Such it is for the life you also choose.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Charles Rotter
August 26, 2023 8:56 am

It’s the same problem with posts from the alarmist trolls.
They post the same garbage over and over as the strategy is to simply tire out those responding and correcting them.
So if you fail to respond, new eyes see the troll comment and no rebuttal and think the troll must be right.

You have a lot of patience.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Charles Rotter
August 25, 2023 1:39 pm

This is about power. Ridicule will not work, because enough power has the ability to suppress ridicule.

You will find that, if it looks as if you are having an effect, you will be closed down.

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
August 25, 2023 6:28 am

…articles like this are a waste of time.

Might be, might be, but where else will I find beautiful gaffs like that last little picture at the end of the article?
Now who has the money to sue Microsoft for their outstanding carbon bill, seeing as their rubber tree cheque just hopped into the fire?

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
August 25, 2023 12:32 pm

I agree with much of what you say but not the point that documenting these issues is a waste of time. Ultimately when the policies of the climate gang damage the quality of life of voters they will want something different. Having systematically refuted all the false claims that “justified” the carnage we now see will provide lubrication for those changing their minds about what they want government to support and who they will vote for next chance they get. The more people are exposed to this the sooner we can change course.

ethical voter
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
August 25, 2023 1:38 pm

Yes. Power and insanity. Insanity is no small player and there is no quick answer to this. Power on the other hand can be dealt to. The restoration of democracy and depowering of politics can quickly be achieved by voting for only independent representatives. Having the voters understand this is a problem. The insanity runs deep.

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
August 25, 2023 2:22 pm

We have a crazy Green Labour government here in New Zealand which has pushed Carbon farming .
How the hell do you farm carbon .
They have encouraged overseas investors to buy up farm land and plant it in radiata pine trees which will never be harvested.
The only benefit to New Zealand is the purchase price of the land which is above what is viable to pay for sheep and cattle farming, and the initial planting .County rates will always be paid whatever the land use .
The carbon credits flow overseas and are counted as offsets against the investors emissions in their country.
As these trees age they will blow over in storms and they will become fire hazards after 20 years .
The biggest problem is that many country districts will be decimated as the population leave and the income from lamb mutton beef and wool that was produced on this land will vanish from New Zealand .
What a great way to stuff up a country .
With a bit of luck we will have a new government here in New Zealand on the 24th of October and some sanity back in our parliament .

August 25, 2023 2:34 am

All those multi-counted carbon offsets. Oh dearie me.

Like all the places that claim they get their 100% of their electricity from the same wind factory/farm. 😉

The CON is on.. always. !

Reply to  bnice2000
August 25, 2023 2:52 am

Carbon offsets, ROCs, REGOs, biomass, wind & solar – all perverse deceits of science by the politicised energy sector – it’s all room 101, 2+2=5 nonsense, peddled by self serving shills
Carbon trading will be the next crypto currency – billions and billions moved from the masses to a few greedy globalists

August 25, 2023 2:36 am

And of course, the carbon offsets for NOT chopping down forests that were never going to be chopped down anyway… except to make way for wind turbines. 😉

Reply to  bnice2000
August 25, 2023 2:54 am

Or to ship 1000s of miles, to burn, to produce steam, to drive a turbine, to generate electricity in yet another green conology

Steve Case
August 25, 2023 2:38 am

Is there a difference between offsets and those letters of indulgences that Martin Luther objected to?

Reply to  Steve Case
August 25, 2023 3:25 am

Is there a difference.

Luther was a Christian (a faith now shunned), not a member of the Church of Global Heating and Latter Day Morons.

Luther was working on a spiritual level, not flying privately from New York to Cannes etc

Reply to  strativarius
August 25, 2023 6:46 am

Do you ever read anything before you respond? You are rude and combative, and you forever misinterpret the most innocent joke.
I am no friend of Case’s, but he succinctly stated Luther to be the hero of his story, you blathering defender of imagined slights.

Richard Page
Reply to  cilo
August 25, 2023 7:11 am

Oh pipe down a bit, cilo, your fake offended act is so very transparent. Strativarius was merely pointing out the massive differences between Martin Luther and the fraudsters of today – using a bogus religion to gain more and more wealth with absolutely no concern for those who will be hurt (or worse) by their fraudulent actions.

Reply to  Richard Page
August 25, 2023 7:17 am

You and stridentaversus should club together and hire a reading comprehension coach.

Richard Page
Reply to  cilo
August 25, 2023 8:51 am

I did find it amusing that you ended your blathering diatribe, defending an imagined slight with: “…you blathering defender of imagined slights.” Projecting there, are you cilo?

August 25, 2023 2:40 am

Story tip

That good old energy regulator Ofgem just can’t help itself, help big energy, whilst it’s duty to protect consumers slips further

Reply to  Energywise
August 25, 2023 3:13 am

A lady nearby has a [classic] Ford Capri.

And it’s in nigh on mint condition. The poor man’s Porsche etc

August 25, 2023 2:49 am

Story Tip.

Londoners buying up vintage cars to avoid ULEZ costs

Sales of old fossil cars are booming in Ultra Low Emission London… « JoNova (

London, the next Venezuela ! 😉

Reply to  bnice2000
August 25, 2023 2:51 am

oops.. I meant..

London… the next Cuba !

Steve Case
Reply to  bnice2000
August 25, 2023 3:02 am

Zackly what I wuz gonna say (-:

Reply to  bnice2000
August 25, 2023 3:05 am


Try Calcutta or even Lagos

August 25, 2023 3:05 am

Comment I put on the Guardian. Not yet deleted.

All green initiatives are scams. That’s the point of them.
They destroyed the government in NI too.

The reason being that green initiatives have multiple ends – to protect the environment and to be financially sustainable.

One has to be subordinate to the other. And if you lose track of the money someone else is going to be taking it.

That’s why all green initiatives are scams.

Reply to  MCourtney
August 25, 2023 3:17 am

If you haven’t been banned at KMF something isn’t quite right.

Reply to  strativarius
August 25, 2023 3:42 am

I’ve been banned a few times.
They hate it when you link to the IPCC reports to contradict the crazies above and below the line.
But I’m currently unbanned and have been for a few months.

Reply to  MCourtney
August 25, 2023 4:07 am

To be a successful Kommenter you have to be totally unhinged – and they are.

August 25, 2023 3:09 am

I remember when Margaret was in the chair and along came the rise of ‘creative accounting’.

A process of manipulating the accounting figures of an entity in order to mislead rather than help the intended users of the information.”

All these years on it hasn’t gone away, its… adapted.

Carbon Offsets from Forest Conservation Projects have Been Overestimated

Over to the attribution artists…

August 25, 2023 3:19 am

The carbon offsets scam has an unusual feature that has been fundamental to its survival – in an offset transaction both seller and buyer have a vested interest in it being a scam. The seller because they can take the money without having to deliver any actual CO2 reduction. The buyer because they can get the brownie points at an unrealistically low price.

The last thing that either of them wants is some kind of audit.

Richard Page
Reply to  Mike Jonas
August 25, 2023 8:52 am

Verra, verra true!

August 25, 2023 3:57 am

They lied! Imagine that!

Reply to  rah
August 25, 2023 6:50 am

Yeah, it’s funny, ’till you realise every cent of it is backed by taxes, and workers’ salaries carry the vast bulk of government tax income.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  rah
August 25, 2023 8:37 am

I’m shocked! Utterly shocked at how well my psychic powers predicted this would be the result of the carbon offset scheme.

August 25, 2023 4:12 am

The left has always/only been focused on inputs (promises of money & headcount), and never on measurable outputs and accomplishments. This is because, deep down, they know that they and their philosophies are frauds, and that they are fundamentally lazy.

August 25, 2023 4:52 am

There’s a new windfarm a little inland from Ayr in southwest Scotland, apparently a lot of trees were cut down to make space for it. Maybe the developers bought carbon credits to make up for all the felled trees. It was also necessary to spend £67million on road improvements – strengthening bridges, in-filling central reservations, widening (sometimes by a relatively small amount) to enable transportation of the turbine blades & towers from the docks to the site, I wonder who picked up the bill.

Reply to  DavsS
August 25, 2023 5:57 am

“”a lot of trees were cut down to make space””

That’s…. ecocide….

Andy Pattullo
August 25, 2023 10:48 am

Carbon offsets: the worry beads of the filthy rich.

August 25, 2023 1:57 pm

You either create CO2 or you don’t, giving someone else money doesn’t cancel your addition of CO2 to the atmosphere. Stop lying and cheating.

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