Without exactly saying why, the CEO of one of the world’s main carbon-offset certifying companies resigned from his position last month. But his departure comes on the tail of a series of reports that his company’s efforts on climate change are essentially “worthless.”
David Antonioli, the CEO of the carbon certifier Verra, announced on his LinkedIn page on May 22 that he was stepping down after 15 years as the company’s leader.
Antonioli praised Verra’s work and said the company has made “tremendous strides together in addressing some of the world’s most vexing environmental and social problems.”
He said Verra President Judith Simon would take over for him until the company makes other arrangements.
The 59-year-old businessman did not say what he intends to do next — short of taking a “long vacation” — and did not say exactly why he was vacating his position at Verra.
Verra is one of the world’s top certifying companies that tracks carbon emissions and certifies their levels. Its data is used by multinational corporations and governments to prove that emissions overall are being lowered to lessen the effects of global warming.
According to the company’s website, “A carbon offset represents a reduction or removal of one metric tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere that is used to compensate for emissions that occur elsewhere.”
These offsets result in “carbon credits” that companies and governments can use to claim that they are arresting climate change.
“Verra was founded in 2007 by environmental and business leaders who saw the need for greater quality assurance in voluntary carbon markets,” the company’s website says. “We now manage the world’s leading voluntary carbon markets program, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, as well as a suite of other programs, incubate new ideas to generate meaningful environmental and social value at scale, and advance the use of these programs worldwide.”
Antonioli did not mention it in his resignation announcement, but Verra has come under fire recently for what the U.K.’s Guardian called “worthless” efforts on climate change.
“In January,” the outlet noted in its May 23 report on the CEO’s sudden departure, “a nine-month investigation by the Guardian, the German weekly Die Zeit and the investigative group SourceMaterial found Verra rainforest credits used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations were largely worthless.”
One of Verra’s chief metrics was its claim that its efforts were stopping the destruction of rainforests in Peru, but critics now say the rainforests Verra was claiming to protect were not under any threat of being destroyed in the first place.
CEO of biggest carbon credit certifier to resign after claims offsets worthless https://t.co/bfxa7hPwXS
— The Guardian (@guardian) May 23, 2023
Leftist HBO host John Oliver blasted the whole idea of carbon offsets last year. Not only did he criticize corporations for using the concept of carbon offsets to claim they are taking a bite out of climate change, but he also said carbon offsets don’t really do anything to fight global warming — rather, he said, they are making things worse.
Some are beginning to agree with Oliver’s assessment that carbon offsets and carbon credits are more or less a scam.
As The Guardian noted, some corporations are starting to back away from relying on the claims of carbon offsetting. Gucci recently removed from its website its boast of being carbon neutral, a claim that was based on Verra’s carbon credit data.
Some scientists also have said governments and corporations should stop relying on companies like Verra to confirm carbon data for several reasons, not the least of which is there are no clear standards to make the claims of carbon neutrality in the unregulated carbon offset industry.
Of course, the whole idea that corporations can just pay money to someone or some company to reduce their carbon emissions without changing their carbon emissions doesn’t pass the test of logic in the first place. More and more people are finally seeing the scam at the center of the carbon offset industry.
It is dawning on many that the whole scheme is merely a way for the super-rich to pump up their public relations and make it seem as if they are “doing something” about climate change when, in truth, they really aren’t.
It’s just a way to make themselves look like green warriors on their web pages and in commercials despite a complete lack of any actual efforts to cut emissions.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.