Phantom carbon credits is a term that suggests that the existence or impact of certain carbon credits may be doubtful or questionable.
Carbon credits are credits given for actions or projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions. These credits are tradable on carbon markets and are used to help emitters reduce their emissions.
The problem of phantom carbon credits arises when projects or measures do not demonstrably reduce emissions, yet credits are issued for them. This may be because the results of the project are difficult to verify, the emission reduction effects are overestimated, or the measure as a whole does not result in effective emission reductions.
This problem is dangerous because by purchasing or using phantom carbon credits, some organisations or companies may give the false impression that they have made significant reductions in their emissions, when in fact they have not made any real effort to reduce their environmental impact.
In order to avoid the problem of phantom carbon credits, it is important to develop transparent and reliable carbon credit systems that ensure that projects actually reduce emissions and that credits are verifiable and credible. Such systems will ensure that carbon credits make a real contribution to the fight against climate change through effective verification mechanisms and strict standards.
Carbon offsets through carbon credits run the gamut from good to bad. Credible offsets can contribute to climate solutions – if coupled with concrete action to reduce emissions. Unfortunately, there are many examples of projects of dubious value, so it is important to check their credibility. This is not a problem for carbon credits in international registers. Each series is assigned an identification number and documentation is available on request.
The use or use of discredited carbon credits is a deception of the market and the authorities and is a criminal offence.
László A. Rampasek