Archive for November 7th, 2007

Carbon Offsetting is a murky world, and a tricky concept to grasp.       Every week the Sunday Times Travel section sends its journalists all over the place, but every week, they print how much they have paid to offset their carbon use.     There is a certain smugness to all of this which I find distasteful.

Many businesses are aspiring to become Carbon Neutral.    Apart from “saving the planet”, it is a great marketing tool.

So that’s OK then?

No, I don’t think so really.   On a number of counts.      Firstly, carbon offsetting should be a last resort.    Businesses should have reduced their carbon footprint to as low as possible before offsetting the rest, and I am not sure this happens.    Secondly, who regulates the projects which benefit from the carbon offsetting money?   Nobody, it seems.   Stories of treadmills in India and the rest make for a deep uneasiness in the whole concept.    Thirdly, and linked to this, is how can businesses, organisations and individuals making carbon offsetting payments be certain that their cash is being used efficiently and in genuinely carbon-beneficial ways?

In Scotland, a new scheme is being launched in November for tourism businesses called Climate Change Scotland where projects are Scottish and vetted for suitability.    Evidence of carbon reduction by businesses intersted in contributing is required.     Perhaps this is a good way forward.

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