Saturday, June 16, 2007

Carbon Offsets Are Offsetting More Guilt than Carbon

An investigative report in the Guardian continues to strip away the claims about the benefis that have been touted for carbon offsets. According to the report very little carbon has actually been offset for two reasons:

“First, these schemes are unregulated and wide open to fraud.”

“Second…even the most well-intentioned schemes suffer from basic weaknesses in the idea of carbon offsetting - an idea which flows not from environmentalists and climate scientists trying to design a way to reverse global warming but from politicians and business executives trying to meet the demands for action while preserving the commercial status quo.”

It seems likely that no matter how little is actually accomplished by carbon offsets people will continue to buy offsets because it makes one feel like one is doing something about global warming. The main contribution of carbon offsets might be to make money for both those who are honest and have the best intentions and those who are ethically challenged and simply out to make a quick buck. There are of course many other methods available to fight global warming but whether they will be employed in time on a wide enough basis seems at the moment very uncertain.

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