Why you shouldn’t go net zero this year

This article is sponsored by Terraformation.

Corporate net zero pledges have turned out to be empty, useless and in extreme cases, made things even worse for the climate. They’ve resulted in short-term solutions that have distracted the world from doing the fundamental work we need to do to fix our climate. 

Balancing your ledger of carbon emissions may have been worse than doing nothing, and now storms and extreme weather continue to ravage the planet. 

Climate change is a problem bigger than any we’ve ever faced. Instead of empty promises, it needs serious solutions we can begin implementing immediately. To do that, we need to expand our global capabilities to carry out carbon projects on a massive scale. 

What went wrong 

It all began innocently enough: Governments weren’t doing enough to fight climate change. So corporate leaders took up the banner. The world needed to reach net zero, so they created net zero goals for their own companies to lead by example. 

In some cases, they reduced emissions — good! What emissions they couldn’t eliminate, they sought carbon credits to offset them. On paper it looked like a pretty good plan. 

Instead, every company started buying up the small pool of carbon offsets, and that pool ran out almost right away. Those offsets represented things someone else had done in the recent past to remove carbon, like protecting a forest, switching to more efficient stoves, fixing methane leaks. 

Most of those projects had already removed carbon from the atmosphere. By buying out of that small pool of offsets and using them as license to emit … it may have undone the good that had already been done! 

To make matters worse, spending this money on current offsets diverted money from funding more and bigger projects to enable future, truly large-scale carbon removal. 

Impact, not intentions 

Trying to get your company, your footprint, to net zero this year isn’t what the world needs.

What the world needs is your contribution to creating the capacity for more projects, more infrastructure, to remove lots of carbon. 

We’re talking orders of magnitude more projects – on the scale of investing to help to create this new capacity for the entire next decade and beyond. 

In the years since I founded Terraformation, a company that partners with teams around the globe to restore native forests, we’ve learned t

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