At talks on cutting plastic pollution
- November 19, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
At talks on cutting plastic pollution
Context: As countries meet in Nairobi to negotiate a treaty aimed at cutting plastics pollution
More about the news:
- Environmental advocacy groups, Break Free From Plastic and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, released a critical report on plastic credits, asserting that they are a flawed tool incapable of effectively addressing global plastic pollution.
- The report, presented in Nairobi during United Nations-led discussions on a plastic pollution treaty, accused plastic credits of often being a form of corporate greenwashing.
- The analysis focused on databases from key advocates of plastic offsetting,
- Verra and the Plastic Credit Exchange marketplace, revealing significant shortcomings in financing, transparency, and auditing.
- The report also highlighted concerns about plastic incineration in cement kilns, suggesting it merely substitutes one pollution source for another.
- Verra defended plastic credits, emphasizing their potential to mobilize funds essential for combatting plastic pollution
What is Plastic Credit:
- Plastic credits, akin to carbon credits for offsetting emissions, involve entities paying for the collection of a specified weight of plastic globally, justifying their own plastic production or usage.
- This approach enables companies to address their plastic footprint by financially contributing to the removal of an equivalent amount of plastic.
- Accreditors like Verra and marketplaces such as the Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX) facilitate this exchange, allowing companies to achieve plastic neutrality or claim “net-zero plastic” by purchasing enough plastic credits.
What does the report say:
- A report by the Break Free From Plastic movement and GAIA scrutinized plastic offsetting projects by Verra and the Plastic Credit Exchange.
- It revealed flaws, citing issues such as credits for waste incineration and doubts about additionality.
- The report questions the environmental impact, asserting that plastic offsetting often transforms plastic pollution into harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
- It also raises concerns about the financial implications, estimating potential revenue of over $4.6 billion by 2030 from Verra’s projects if credits are sold at $500 per ton.
What do plastic credits proponents say:
- Verra advocates for plastic credits, highlighting benefits such as supporting waste collection and recycling infrastructure, improving conditions for the informal waste sector, and aiding low- and middle-income countries in developing waste management capabilities.
- The Plastic Credit Exchange aims to advance the circular economy, founded in 2019in the Philippines, a focal point of the plastic pollution crisis.
What do opponents say:
- Environmentalists argue that plastic credits, particularly those generated from incineration and cement kilns, contribute to toxic emissions, spreading pollutants invisibly.
- Yuyun Ismawati, a senior advisor, criticizes plastic credits in Indonesia, citing harmful impacts on affected communities.
- Policymakers see credits as a means for single-use plastic-dependent companies to evade business model changes, hindering efforts against plastic pollution.
Are plastic credits in the pollution treaty:
- The current draft text under discussion at the international treaty negotiations in Nairobi does not include provisions for plastic pollution reduction.
- However, negotiators are working on developing the first-ever international, legally binding treaty addressing plastic pollution on land and at sea.
- The ongoing talks, the third in a series of five meetings, aim to conclude negotiations by the end of the following year.
- Representatives from various nations, petrochemical companies, and environmentalists are participating in the discussions.