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SEC Climate Task Force Tip #1: Delta Airlines’ false & misleading claim about carbon offsets – They are NOT ‘a viable, proven & immediate way to make an impact today’

By Steve Milloy

As of March 4, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is looking for tips on false and misleading climate disclosures. We welcome this since we petitioned the SEC in August 2019 to take action against climate lying. Here is today’s example (and tip for the SEC) of climate lying from Delta Airlines.


Delta issued a media release today (Web | PDF) about going carbon neutral.

Moving past the obvious nonsense about “zero impact aviation” and “combatting climate change” — neither of which is possible — consider this statement in the release:

Is it truthful to claim that carbon offsets are “a viable, proven and immediate way to make an impact today”?

Are carbon offsets ‘viable’?

What does that even mean? Yes, you can buy them. Yes, you can greenwash and hide behind them. But try describing your financial results to investors merely as ‘viable’ and see what regulators have to say about that.

Are carbon offsets ‘proven’?

No. “The idea of carbon offsetting, which underpins so-called net zero targets, is founded on a number of myths,” according to 41 scientists. The basic problem is that while emissions happen in real-time, offsets might only happen at some distant point in the future — and the offsets are not really verifiable. Check out these 10 myths about net zero targets and carbon offsetting. (Web | PDF)

Are carbon offsets ‘immediate’?

How can they be immediate from an airline? Emissions happen in real-time. Offsets, if they happen at all and haven’t been double-counted, happen much later. Even if you purchase offsets ahead of time, that does not mean that the CO2 has already been stored somewhere or soon will be.

Delta gets four Pinocchios and a referral to the SEC Climate Task Force.

For geezers who will get this: “Delta is ready when you are. Delta is ready to f̶l̶y̶ lie.”