US climate change envoy John Kerry on Sunday outlined the main principles for a “high-integrity” carbon offset plan designed to help developing nations accelerate their energy transition, as well as next steps, including the creation of an advisory panel.
The Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA), first announced at last year’s COP27 climate conference, is being developed by the United States with the Bezos Earth Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation to mobilize private capital.
Kerry told the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi that the goal was to create acceptable deals to accelerate emissions reductions, stressing that the ETA was not a substitute for other sources of funding and would be time-limited.
“We believe you can have an honest, responsible and transparent credit that will help us put some money on the table,” he said, acknowledging widespread criticism of voluntary carbon offset schemes.
Such schemes, where companies receive emissions credits in exchange for funneling money to poor countries that reduce their carbon emissions, are often riddled with fraud and double-counting.
“There are only two purposes for which we will allow someone to be able to buy a credit – one, to close or transfer an existing fossil fuel facility that provides energy, and two, to actually deploy renewable energy sources that will replace the current dirty sourcing,” Carey said.
He said the ETA principles also call for a short-term, inclusive and comprehensive approach to achieving broader sustainable development goals and supporting the energy transition across the energy sector.
The Rockefeller Foundation released a joint statement Sunday with a tentative list of members of ETA’s High-Level Advisory Group, which Carey said would provide a broad cross-section of input and add more participants.