By claiming to have offset emissions, an organisation is effectively stating that the act of purchasing carbon credits has counteracted their unabated emissions, leaving the atmosphere no worse off. However, in a scenario where a government hosting a project generating carbon credits is able to count the underlying emission impact towards their NDC, it is possible that this emission impact will displace or defer other action that the government may have taken to achieve their NDC, if this is no longer required. Where this displacement or deferral occurs, the underlying premise of the offset claim – that the atmosphere is no worse off – is no longer assured, as the underlying emission impact has replaced rather than added to abatement that would otherwise have happened.
By applying a corresponding adjustment, through which the host government discounts any mitigation transferred for use by another party when accounting against their NDC, there is certainty that units will not be double claimed in this way. This proposal is consistent with our existing objective to protect the transparency, credibility and robustness of Gold Standard VERs, and is important to avoid the risk of misleading claims and to maintain trust in the voluntary carbon market.
More information about using voluntary carbon credits in this new era can be found in our Voluntary Carbon Market Transition pages of our website.