A study published in Nature Climate Change shows companies are increasingly relying on “renewable energy certificates” (RECs) to prove they are cutting their electricity emissions, but REC sales have little to no effect on whether or not wind and solar farms are built, according to the researchers. “Too many consumers, media, even investors might actually think that the company is physically using 100 percent renewables. And that is just not the case,” says Anders Bjørn, a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University and lead author told the Verge.
Bjørn and his colleagues looked at 115 companies across a range of industries and found the companies reported reducing climate pollution by over 30 percent between 2015 and 2019, but the actual emissions reductions were closer to 10 percent. “What we can see in our study is that companies in most cases are buying certificates that are not doing much, if anything, for the climate, whether they know it or not,” Bjørn concluded. (The Verge, Global News, Bloomberg $, Grist, The Conversation, Cosmos)