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White House unveils new guidelines for carbon credits

The White House on Tuesday unveiled new guidelines for carbon credits. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
The White House on Tuesday unveiled new guidelines for carbon credits. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

May 28 (UPI) -- The White House on Tuesday presented new guidelines for corporations seeking to purchase carbon credits in an effort to offset their emissions.

The Joint Statement of Policy and New Principles for Responsible Participation in Voluntary Carbon Markets seeks to codify the administration's approach to the market, which will play a critical role in the country's taking credible action against climate change.

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The new principles say that carbon credits and their activities must meet "credible atmospheric integrity standards," avoid environmental and social harm and that corporate credit buyers should prioritize measurable emission reductions within their value chain.

The principles also said that credit users should publicly disclose their purchases and accurately reflect their impact, that market participants must contribute to improving market integrity that policymakers and market participants should encourage participation to lower transaction costs.

The statement ensures the carbon market can deliver the decarbonization supporters hope for.

"Further steps are needed to strengthen this market and enable [voluntary carbon markets] to deliver on their potential," the White House said. "Observers have found evidence that several popular crediting methodologies do not reliably produce the decarbonization outcomes they claim.

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"In too many instances, credits do not live up to high standards necessary for market participants to transact transparently and with certainty that credit purchases will deliver verifiable decarbonization."

Supporters said the new Biden administration guidelines are in step with nonprofit groups monitoring corporate carbon emissions such as the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets.

"By the White House coming out with principles that are really aligned with the principles that the IC-VCM is implementing, I think that sends a very strong signal to the market that there is real weight behind and alignment behind what the integrity council is doing," Nat Keohane, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, told The Hill.

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