The Carbon Offset Problem

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Writing by Sam Denby and Tristan Purdy
Editing by Alexander Williard
Animation led by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster


Written by Wendover Productions

Wendover Productions is all about explaining how our world works. From travel, to economics, to geography, to marketing and more, every video will leave you with a little better understanding of our world. New videos go out every other Tuesday.


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  1. Credits are sold to not cut trees in areas that aren't going to be cut, or then get cut. Multinational companies tout these credits as them doing good things when they actually aren't. Media doesn't care.

    What of this is surprising?

    Well, that there isn't a few people getting rich off of it.

  2. India and Africa has spoken up and said that this whole "carbon tax" only oppresses developing countries, most of Europe, England, America has emitted most of the worlds pollution during the industrial revolution era and in turn made the biggest leaps forward… developing countries can't make that leap due to this new "carbon tax" even Elon Musk agreed it was VERY hypocritical..

  3. Carbon offsetting by protecting existing forests… what? "Pay me money and I won't chop this tree down." Guess we are holding forests for ransom now.

  4. Shouldn't government environmental agencies be responsible for making sure carbon credits are sold responsibly and fairly? Like how the SEC in the US oversees the public sale of stocks to the stock market. Where are they in all this and why didn't you talk about them? Bogus carbon credits sound like fraud and punishing fraudsters is the governments responsibility.

  5. Solving a problem created by inherent traits of the market with a market solution is like helping an alcoholic overcome addiction by making non-alcoholic softdrinks more available to them while still allowing them the same access and options to alcoholic drinks hoping they make the right choice.

  6. I had always suspected that carbon offsets were just a bunch of greenwashing. If you're concerned about carbon emissions, then get to the root of the problem and find a way to reduce them. Offsetting is just a hedge, and hedges are not sustainable.

  7. Funfact: In Western-EU a LOT of power companies hide behind these credits.
    It came out recently that our Power Company literally called GREEN (with every advertisement mentioning they provide power that is 99+% renewable)
    actually has only a bit over half renewable, the rest is follis fuel plants hiding behind green certificates.
    and within weeks all the dumdums forgot about it, and when i try to remind them about this news story from 2 years ago they call me a liar and/or conspiracy nutter.

    "You lie."
    "We sat in this room and watched the same goddamned news report 2 years ago i REMEMBER it!"

    i hope Russia nukes us.

  8. Forrest offsets are not a scam because of underaccouting due to future events. They are fundamentally a scam because combusting million year old (permanently sequestered) carbon is a permanent generation event and a living organism does not permanently sequester it. PERIOD. This is like buying offsets from a refinery who just sold their CO2 to Coca-cola to put in drinks. The CO2 will end up in the atmosphere you have only slowed it down not offset anything. The only real offsets are not burning carbon or physically pumping the carbon back into the geologic formations it came out of. Forrest offsets are Fraud, or racketeering to be specific, and should be illegal.

    I will also say direct air capture offsets are real and verifiable. You can account for the CO2, when it was collected, where it was stored, and how it is maintained. The problem is that they cost more than $1,000 per ton compared to say $6 for these fake greenwashing credits. Since this is such a new technology the cost can come down but that requires funding this technology and right now a lot of that money is instead being used for fake offsets.

  9. Carbon offset does work if it means growing new trees in areas without trees. Using existing forests for carbon offset is stupid, especially considering that cutting down the existing trees and then growing new ones in their place might actually offset more carbon (young trees absorb more CO2 than old trees).

  10. So essentially, the people using the stoves are too stupid to stop using the other inefficient stoves. 4kg of wood a day is ridiculous when multiplied out by all the households

  11. I used to work in the carbon credit industry… which is growing quite a bit recently and I remember the cognitive dissonance when many of these points were brought up by people like myself and landowners we were trying to get involved with our carbon crediting scheme. Carbon accounting and crediting is a convoluted and challenging process and should be one part in our arsenal when it comes to mitigating climate change.

  12. Virtue signaling with cash. What do think was going to happen when you have a government tell companies to do something or else. The system was designed to gamed. Just wait till government starts taxing you individually in the name of global climate change.

  13. They need to stop calling this shit "credits". Credits imply DEBT, and debt implies PAYING. And paying reminds of TAXES. And LITERALLY NO ONE likes being told they have to pay a tax for, literally, existing, when we're already being taxed to hell and back and rammed in the fucking bunghole with income, sales, and whatever tax those self-serving bastards in power can come up with. I'm fucking tired of being told by media and a uthoritiesthat muy existence is a CRIME that I must pay for. FUCK THAT.

  14. When the catholic church became corrupt they sold indulgences for people to pay cash for their sins. When religion went from worshipping a heavenly Father into worshipping an earthly mother the corrupt environmental priests are now again selling indulgences where people can pay for permission to sin.

  15. There's something icky to me about targeting people living subsistence lifestyles and using traditional stoves, and not the modern industrial output that's most affecting climate change.

    That's not to say that more efficient stoves are bad, only that we're blaming people in India for our own pollution.

  16. The giant corporations that bought a large amount of offsets while doing practically zero due diligence is as bad as using slave labor vendors.

  17. There is literally not enough regulations and also this offset is mostly theoretical and definitely doesn’t help the environment actually. ‘Protecting’ not threatened forests does nothing while huge corps also finance oil and gas industry

  18. It sounds like we should cut down large swaths of forests, use the wood for something productive (Not just for charcoal/burning wood) and re-plant those forests to continue capturing carbon.

  19. 15:55 It is one of the core fundamentals of economics since the dawn of economics: It's the Jevon paradox. Same thing happened with more efficient cars, especially EV and self-driving. Some studies report that EV autonomous vehicles can add up to 20-50% more driving than Business-As-Usual. Why is this bad? AVs are heavier, meaning they damage the road faster, and most electricity sources are still based on fossil fuels. What I'm saying things are SO MUCH MORE NUANCE in economics and environmental conditions. So far, the ONLY effective ways to protect the environment is just… CONSUME LESS STUFF!

  20. Politicians love setting up complicated & exploitable workarounds like carbon offset trading b/c the actual solution – putting a considerable tax on all carbon based fuels (plus emitters like concrete production) & using the money to subsidize renewables – is wildly unpopular

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