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Our Head of Climate Change, Keith Allott, responds:

Carbon markets could be an important tool in the battle against climate change, but are very far from being a silver bullet - we need a whole series of other policies such as regulation to stop new unabated coal power stations or incentives for clean technology or efficiency.

"The problem with carbon offsetting is that at best it robs Peter to pay Paul - with no net benefit for the planet. All too often, offsetting is simply used to justify business-as-usual behaviour in the UK and other countries.

"The government is claiming that its vision for the carbon markets goes 'beyond offsetting'... We welcome that, but not if it simply shifts our own responsibility onto the shoulders of developing countries.

"Overall, there needs to be a huge reality check - today's report shows that the rich world is currently proposing to cut emissions by just 7-9% by 2020, less than a quarter of what's needed if we're to head off disastrous climate change.

"And at the same time, rich countries are failing to offer clear financial support to help poorer countries cope with climate change, and curb the growth in their own emissions."

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