Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Carbon Offsetting: absolving our climate sins

A good post from Ecological Economics (thanks for the pointer):

I to remain sceptical of the whole carbon offsetting business - there is something vaguely unsavourary about the whole set up.

Carbon Offsets: Modern Day 'Indulgences'?
Carbon offsets are the modern day indulgences, sold to an increasingly carbon conscious public to absolve their climate sins. Scratch the surface, however, and a disturbing picture emerges, where creative accountancy and elaborate shell games cover up the impossibility of verifying genuine climate change benefits, and where communities in the South often have little choice as offset projects are inflicted on them.

This report argues that offsets place disproportionate emphasis on individual lifestyles and carbon footprints, distracting attention from the wider, systemic changes and collective political action that needs to be taken to tackle climate change. Promoting more effective and empowering approaches involves moving away from the marketing gimmicks, celebrity endorsements, technological quick fixes, and the North/South exploitation that the carbon offsets industry embodies.

PDF of the full report HERE.

Along similar lines is this excellent spoof from Celsias about a new site called "cheatneutral".

Carbon offsetting: is it cheating?
At, you’re encouraged to reduce incidences of cheating on your partner, but if you cannot (for reasons beyond your control), you can offset your cheating by investing in a single celibate person, or a monogamous couple.

What is Cheat Offsetting?

When you cheat on your partner you add to the heartbreak, pain and jealousy in the atmosphere.

Cheatneutral offsets your cheating by funding someone else to be faithful and NOT cheat. This neutralises the pain and unhappy emotion and leaves you with a clear conscience.

Can I offset all my cheating?

First you should look at ways of reducing your cheating. Once you’ve done this you can use Cheatneutral to offset the remaining, unavoidable cheating.

An excellent idea - I think I know plenty of economists that could be funded to remain faithful (the majority not through choice).

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