US climate envoy Kerry outlines carbon offset initiative for developing countries

ABU DHABI, Jan 15 (Reuters) – U.S. climate envoy John Kerry on Sunday outlined the key principles of a “high-integrity” carbon offset plan meant to help developing countries speed their energy transition and next steps, including establishing an advisory group.

The Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA), first announced at last year’s COP27 climate conference, is being developed by the US with the Bezos Earth Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation to raise private capital.

Kerry told the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi that the aim was to create bankable deals to accelerate emissions reductions, stressing that the ETA was not a substitute for other funding sources and would be time-limited.

“We believe you can have high-integrity, accountable, transparent credit that will help us be able to put some money on the table,” he said, acknowledging widespread criticism of voluntary carbon offset schemes.

Such schemes, in which companies receive emissions credits in exchange for providing cash to poor countries that reduce their carbon output, are often riddled with fraud and double-counting.

“There are only two purposes for which we will allow someone to be able to buy credits — one, to shut down or relocate existing fossil fuel facilities that are providing electricity, and two, for the actual deployment of renewables that will replace current, dirty sourcing,” Carey said.

He said the ETA principles also called for a near-term, inclusive and comprehensive approach to achieving the broader Sustainable Development Goals and supported the energy sector-wide energy transition.

The Rockefeller Foundation released a joint report on Sunday statement ETA with a preliminary list of High-Level Consultative Group members that Kerry said would provide a broader cross-section of input and add more participants.

Reporting by Rachna Uppal and Ghaida Ghantus; Editing by Susan Fenton

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