California’s carbon-credit market often pays for greenhouse gas reductions that would’ve happened anyway

However, reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune has revealed numerous instances where companies and nonprofits selling offsets didn’t shrink their carbon footprint as a result of the program — raising questions about the ability of the program to fight climate change.

In some situations, groups maintained green business practices that long preceded the offset program, but qualified to sell credits by pledging to continue those activities for decades to come. In other cases, companies received checks for reducing their emissions but were largely motivated to green up their operations by other financial factors.

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