Some Suggested Principles for Individual Carbon Offsets

Photo by Mircea Iancu on I’ll confess up front that I am not a fan of offsets. Addressing climate change will require people in the developed world to live with a smaller carbon footprint. We need to redefine the Western ideal of the “good life” to substitute a vision with less energy consumption. That will only happen when culture changes – substantial numbers of people start living a good life without emitting tons and tons of GHGs. We need some conspicuous non-consumption right now in order to change culture to accept a lower carbon energy economy. And offsets get in the way of that happening, since people maintain their visibly big footprint lives while paying someone else somewhere else to pretty much invisibly reduce their carbon emissions. The premise of carbon offsets is that you are paying someone somewhere to either reduce their GHG emissions, or capture and sequester GHG emissions, equal to the emissions from whatever you are doing…

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