Carbon neutrality, a reality or a scam?

According to the Agence de la Transition Ecologique (ADEME), “carbon neutrality” aims to counterbalance, on a global scale, all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from human activity by sequestering equivalent quantities of CO2, i.e. keeping them out of the atmosphere over the long term. In other words, it is a matter of sequestering as much carbon as we emit to stabilise its level of concentration in the atmosphere and thus limit the increase in the planet’s global temperature. 

The objective of carbon neutrality therefore only makes sense on a global scale. 

In line with the global objective of carbon neutrality, many actors are mobilising and wish to do their part: companies, territories, citizens, etc. There is an increasing amount of communication around this global objective, without a shared framework and without always understanding the ins and outs. Various interpretations of the term “carbon neutrality” are observed, often giving the illusion that an actor, a product or an activity would no longer have any impact on the climate. 

Individually or on their own scale, economic actors, local authorities and citizens who are committed to carbon neutrality are not, nor can they become, or claim to be, “carbon neutral“, which is meaningless on their own scale.

As explained by M. Jancovici, when a company declares itself “carbon neutral“, it does not mean that it has instantly put itself “outside the climate problem”. A company belongs to a value chain, in which all the links (suppliers, customers, partners, etc.) depend for instance on fossil fuel machines, or even deforestation, and therefore on CO2 emissions, whether these emissions are their property or not. The risk comes from the dependence, not from the ownership!

However, companies can enhance their contribution to this global objective through their respective actions. 

At Tapio we have mistaken some terms, concepts and wordings regarding “carbon neutrality” but thanks to institutions such as ADEME, Carbone 4, etc., which shed light on climate blurs, we were able to reconsider and adapt our strategy.

Indeed, as the ADEME explained, the sequestration potential of our forests, soils, etc., is not sufficient to balance the current and trend level of our emissions. It is therefore essential to adopt, as soon as possible, ambitious reduction strategies that will allow us to decarbonise our system while increasing the available carbon sinks.

We thus push our partners to implement actions in priority on their perimeter of responsibility, i.e. on which their activity induces a GHG impact and not to base their strategy solely on the financing of emission reduction or sequestration projects at third parties. 

Sources
https://www.ademe.fr/sites/default/files/assets/documents/avis-ademe-neutralite-carbone-2021.pdf
https://jancovici.com/publications-et-co/articles-de-presse/soyons-neutres/

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