Neel Dahnesha writing at Vox on infamous co-founder of WeWork Adam Neuman’s latest effort to put carbon credits on the blockchain.
“I think they’re trying to solve something that’s not a problem,” Robert Mendelsohn, a professor of forest policy and economics at Yale, told Recode. “The kinds of things that blockchains are good at, which is sort of just making sure nothing gets lost, isn’t really a problem with the current market. That’s not where they’re broken. Where they’re broken is the credits themselves may not actually be causing any reduction in carbon.”
Carbon credits and offsets have been problematic since their debut back in the early 1990’s, and I’m skeptical that the missing ingredient all along has been an appropriate crypto token on the blockchain.
Carbon credits and offsets frequently miss the mark, and in some cases can even cause additional harm to forests. Carbon offsets that don’t provide any additional emissions reductions allow companies that buy them to claim they’ve made a difference to their carbon footprint without having any real impact. “They haven’t offset anything,” Mendelsohn explained. “They’ve just got this worthless piece of paper saying they got a credit. You could put that credit onto the blockchain, and it would be just as worthless.”
I’m not surprised that Adreessen Horowitz’ a16z venture capital firm has already dumped millions into this project – they have money to burn on any crazy idea.
I’ll be more surprised how many Silicon Valley investors who got burned hard by WeWork will find this to be a truly credible business model and not just another money grab by Neumann.