The debate rages on. Here are a few snippets
Mark Trexler writes- Given the clear potential of carbon offsets to contribute to climate change mitigation objectives, any argument that offsets should be discarded must demonstrate more than that carbon offset systems have not been perfectly implemented. If we are going to slow climate change, we need every tool at our disposal.
JF Mernard writes- Offsets are the life-blood, the ultimate tool inherited and offered to all participating citizens and stakeholders in our society to curb the effect of global warming on our planet. For that reason alone offsets shall be an ever-increasing share of all GHG policy frameworks as this war on our changing climate is taking place. Quite simply, no other equivalent exists.
Ward Crawford writes- The proposition should therefore be opposed, not because offsets are ineffective in reducing emissions, but because an admirable objective has not yet been implemented effectively.
James Emanuel writes; In conclusion, the use of carbon offsets achieves a benefit to the environment (the reductions of GHG emissions that wouldn’t otherwise occur) together with a benefit to the economy (access to lowest cost compliance with carbon constraints). It appears to be a win-win situation.
At their very hypothetical best, then offsets would still only be a “zero-sum” game rather than a reduction in emissions levels, and reductions are what are urgently needed.
Carbon offsets are also being used indiscriminately by corporations and governments as a means of justifying the development or expansion of carbon-intensive infrastructure that will lock us into future decades of high emissions levels.
KFJ writes - My major concern with carbon offsets is that businesses think they can buy their way out of the problem completely rather than grasping the nettle of their own emissions. Businesses that emit carbon seek a PR benefit (if voluntary) or an economic benefit (if part of a mandatory scheme). They basically want the problem to go away with a simple declaration of ‘carbon neutrality’. But there are not enough projects to meet demand, due presumably to lack of resources, so new voluntary ‘rating agencies’ (those mentioned in some responses here) are set up, which essentially are there to give backing to projects which otherwise would NOT get approved by the UN.
Ken - It occurs to me that this form of free market approach fails as a mechanism for reducing CO2 emissions–namely, it is, as far as I can see, impossible to verify. Nor is there any regulatory body responsible for following up. Finally, it moves the responsibility away from the political process
And then this one from KiwiBuzz….. My inclination is to vote yes. However, this leaves me in a quandary. The debate is based on the assumption that man-made greenhouse gases cause dangerous global warming. The evidence against this hypothesis gets stronger every day that the world temperatures do not increase above the 1998 peak and the definite cooling trend that has set in since 2002 continues. Most of the so-called evidence for manmade GW consists of the output of computer models that failed to predict this cooling trend. For that reason, and for many others, they are worthless. Evidence based on sunspots predicts continued cooling.
i) That offsetting is bad because it persuades companies not to reduce
ii) That offsetting cannot be policed properly and that the rules of additionality do not work
iii) That even if companies go to zero then that is not enough.
My comments as follows
i) All companies need to reduce and most companies now see the benefit of being responsible with their emissions not least because it keeps their costs down and the costs of offsetting down. If not it is in the power of the consumer to show their displeasure.
ii) We have a system, it is working in that it is encouraging companies to engage. Agreed, it is not perfect, but let’s work together to fix it to ensure we get rid of those carbon cowboys
iii) I agree, zero is not enough. Every company should go beyond zero to operate in a carbon negative business environment to become Planet Positive
I also note Kevin Smith’s concern over the building of ‘carbon intensive infrastructure’ and this blog shares his concerns. We need Planet Positive Infrastructure ( see previous blogs)
And as to KiwiBuzz…are there really people out there who still believe this stuff!!!!
10th December 2008