Mar 26, 2007

Offsetting emissions - The carbon con?

"Zero carbon" companies gain the reputational benefits of being seen to be green. Offsetting also offers them the experience of working with a shadow price for carbon, in preparation for future regulation. But companies should not make these claims lightly, says Clough. "It should really be the responsibility of companies to prove that the offsets they are buying are credible and actually have environmental worth."
... Friends of the Earth, suspects that carbon offsetting is allowing companies to appear green while providing little incentive to change their, or their consumers', behavior. "I think it's being used as greenwash," he says. He accuses energy companies, of being the loudest advocates of consumer carbon offsetting, as these industries stand to lose most from more environmentally friendly behavior.
... offsets do not reduce emissions. He compares the planet to a running bath, full almost to the brim with carbon dioxide. To offset carbon dioxide emissions, by analogy, is to say: "I won't turn off my tap. I'll let someone else turn off their tap." The reality, he says, is that we need to turn off both.