18 The Whitman Bassow Award 2022

Best reporting in any medium on international environmental issues

AWARD NAME: The Whitman Bassow Award 2022
RECIPIENT: Max De Haldevang, Akshat Rathi, Natasha White, Demetrios Pogkas, Verity Ratcliffe, Ben Elgin and Sinduja Rangarajan
AFFILIATION: Bloomberg Green
HONORED WORK: “Exploiting Carbon Offsets”

The winning entry by Bloomberg Green took on the complex topic of carbon offsets, the system that allows companies to continue emitting their own greenhouse gases while paying others to reduce their emissions. The reporters analyzed more than 200,000 transactions to show how dozens of companies are using questionable accounting to claim “carbon neutral” status. One striking story shows how oil giant BP exploited workers in rural communities in Mexico by paying them very little and then using the savings to offset the company’s emissions. The reporters also revealed how organizers of the World Cup in Qatar attempted to compensate for that event’s enormous carbon footprint through a dodgy Doha-based certification body that would sign off on projects that fail to meet minimum standards anywhere else in the world. This project stood out as an eye-opening examination of an issue that could make or break the effort to slow climate change.

Links to the honored work:
1. “BP Paid Rural Mexicans a “Pittance” For Wall Street’s Favorite Climate Solution
2. “Mexico’s AMLO Says Carbon Offsets Need Oversight After BP Revelations
3. “Mexico Lawmakers Push Carbon Offset Regulation to Stop ‘Injustices’
4. “Junk Carbon Offsets Are What Made These Big Companies ‘Carbon Neutral’
5. “How the 2022 World Cup Rebuilt a Market for Dodgy Carbon Credits
6. “What Really Happens When Emissions Vanish

Citation for Excellence:
Bloomberg Green
“Big Plastics”