Green Policies and Carbon Emmission Offsets

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Jimmy Bastard
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Green Policies and Carbon Emmission Offsets

Post by Jimmy Bastard » Sun Jul 30, 2006 10:41 pm

The subject was brought up in this Sunday's meeting.
As I recall it was raised as an invite of informed opinions to cut through tedious corporate greenwash and disinformation.
It was mentioned that the cafe might consider donating, linking to organizations such as Trees For Life etc.
I've spent a few weeks volunteering for TFL and carry no cynicism but I'm highly suspicious of the philosophy and reality of carbon offsetting.
I'm not in the least bit read up on the subject but if read as true this article highlights certain excepted myths ... fraud.html

The reality:

'Burning fossil fuels adds CO2 to the carbon cycle. Trees merely store some of it for a while before releasing it once they rot or burn. They're not an offset, merely a delaying device.'

As Oliver Rackham said, it's like drinking more water to keep down rising sea levels.

The philosophy:

'planting trees and energy efficiency are important things to do in themselves, but the trouble with linking them to offset programmes is that their positive impact is cancelled out by justifying and condoning a negative one, implying that we can consume at current rates guilt free as long as we have the money to salve our consciences, which takes us no further forwards in reducing emissions. If anything, it takes us backwards, as corporations are able to ride on the image boost of appearing greener, whereas the truth of the matter is that they are a complete fraud.'

This taken and understood of course is no reason not to sign up to a sound energy company or plant trees for that matter but it's still savvy to identify superficial choices.
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Post by Dandolo » Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:35 am

Ditto! Offset culture is very very bad. It's like fucking driving 8 miles to Lucohaze an hour at the gym or... or post-binge detox. In fact it's analogous to the way a lot of people treat their own bodies and we don't want a carbon bulemic society. Let's focus on cutting down consumption to what we pass on to customers and going more local/organic.

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Post by Magda » Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:55 pm

Obviously, offsetting is not the ultimate answer, and nobody claimed that it was. But isn't it better than not offsetting the emissions we can't avoid?

The point is to use this scheme wisely.

We don't even have to give money to these offsetting websites. We can use their calculators and then give the money to whatever charity we want.

Secondly, I'm not a biologist but this thing about trees merely storing Carbondioxide sounds pretty dodgy. Trees live for years and years, turning Carbondioxide into breathable air through photosynthesis. It's their f***ing job. Claiming that they are useless at it is rather controversial.

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Post by swithun » Thu Aug 03, 2006 4:41 pm

I'm not George Monbiot, but I think having more trees is, all other things being equal, a good thing. There is a finite(ish) amount of carbon in the world. Trees are made of carbon. Carbon can either be in trees or it can be in CO2. We are releasing more carbon than the trees are fixing, because we are cutting down trees and burning coal/oil (old trees/animals). If we had more trees then they could fix more of the CO2 that is around. Plus, trees keep carbon out of the atmosphere longer than their lifetime. That is where coal comes from.

It is important to find a good offsetting scheme. George Monbiot told a story about a scheme which was to grow mangroves as an offsetting measure. The trouble was that the place where they were planted wasn't suitable. So the mangroves absorbed all the water and the local people had to leave their homes as they had nothing to drink.

Just as shortsighted big business is responsible for the climate chaos, they are now muscling in on potential solutions. The 3rd world pays the price of carbon emissions, and we pay for half assed offsetting schemes in tax breaks and carbon trading handouts.

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Post by beev » Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:38 pm

I agree that tree planting is not a bad thing. I would not rush to join any offsetting scheme, however. I think that if the forest survives long enough we will eventually be carbon neutral in one way or another.

Does anyone realise how much energy we use? Shitloads! The possibilites for reducing that are very little at the moment. Carbon neutrality will be a much more realistic goal when we are more efficient. Currently, gaining greater efficiency will involve much investement. Such investment is pointless when you consider that the kinds of things we would be investing in are continually dropping in price as they become more and more popular, and as the technology develops. Basically, we are better waiting until efficiency is more mainstream, then we will find it easier (cheaper) to take advantage of what is available. Currently, being completely green is still an expensive luxury.

One thing that might make a difference is if someone can find us (well, our landlords) an energy supplier which will offer greenness at no extra cost. Last time I checked (around a year ago) there was still nobody offering anything acceptable. Remember, they get a discount for buying a combined electricity and gas deal. If anyone has relevant information, please get in touch.

Swithun - I'm so glad you're not George Monbiot!

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Post by chris » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:40 am

what ever happended to the timer for the coffee machine idea... that would be a good start.

leaving it on all night is incredibly wasteful, and a terrible fire hazard, probably illegal.
Maybe it could work? But it will be a kaleidoscopic blend of mysterious shadows and rainbow hued-dreams seen through compassionate tears.

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Post by beev » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:56 am

I got tired of people telling me it was a bad idea.

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