In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol introduced the Carbon Credit system, a market driven response to the problem of ever increasing CO2 and other greenhouse emissions by providing a tradable quota.
In November 2019 the average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, reading taken from the Manua Loa observatory in Hawaii was 410.27ppm (up 13% from 1997) and increasing faster and faster every year, meaning the system just does not work, at all. All that is happening is companies and countries buy and sell credits for cash and the cost is ultimately passed to the end consumer.
One example of just how wrong the system is is that Australia is able to now (and is openly doing so) use it’s unused quota allowances from previous years to offset against an excess produced in the coming years in fudging it’s response to meeting it’s Paris Agreement commitment to limiting global warming to 1.5c.
This is significant because it means that any motivated government can effectively use some modestly creative accounting practices to totally undermine the whole purpose of the agreement. That said, there is very little on paper to stop this.
It is unfair to blame this solely on corporations and governments. They ultimately provide what we as consumers need, they are only satisfying our demand. We need to demand more sustainable and reusable materials in what we purchase throughout the entire manufacturing process. Are cucumbers sustainable? Pretty much, however do supermarkets need to provide non-recyclable plastic wrapping around every single one of the millions of cucumbers they sell? No. They do this because we demand the cucumbers last more than a couple of days, and therefore they are just satisfying our needs.
We should phase out carbon credits and also look at our own personal needs, what we can personally take responsibility for right the way up the manufacturing chain from base materials through to our ownership.
One responsibility we have is to choose our representatives in government and as a collective, demand action via things like petitions and more direct action. If they are happy to weasel out of their commitments to sustainability and the climate emergency, do we really want these people acting on our behalf?