Monday, March 10, 2008

Carbon offsetting

Just as a matter of curiosity, I've been visiting various 'Carbon Trading' and 'Carbon offsetting' web sites, and trying to work out who benefits from these enterprises.

Now if you're convinced by the 'Human Carbon Dioxide emissions are the root of all climate evil' argument, the thought of counteracting one's flight to Malaga by burying a heap of vegetation / planting a tree in Africa might sound like a good idea.

Back in England, I knew of farmers planting hundreds of trees even before this alarmist 'Climate change' stuff was invented. Veritable forests have been planted because of the inspiration from such one time media darlings as David Bellamy, for whom I have the greatest respect. As a botanist, conservationist, environmental campaigner and TV personality, David helped popularise earth sciences and conservation. He has done more for the planet in this way than all the Monbiots and Gores of this world. Now however, he has been sidelined and even demonised for his assertion that 'Anthropogenic Climate change' is a myth. Some of his views can be found in papers such as these.

Just for a little history; the first I heard of Carbon trading or offsetting was back in early 2007 when I was working in the UK. At the time I thought it sounded more like a sop to the 'If you're against Anthropogenic Climate Change, how are you counteracting all those flights you're making' side of the argument. It still does. Maybe that's because all these terribly clever people who come up with these schemes don't think the rest of us poor slobs can't look at the bigger picture. They appear to think that the rest of us poor mortals are thick.

One of the acts of faith the Climate Change lobby want the rest of us to perform is to offset ones 'Carbon Credits'. A whole industry has been set up to take our 'Carbon guilt money' off us. Taking a flight? Hey, pay your 'Carbon credits' and you can go anywhere you like. Feeling guilty about having to drive to work every day? Buy some 'Carbon Credits' or offset your carbon emissions and you can drive twice as far. Of course it's not that simple, but my point is that there are people making money off this carbon emissions guilt trip. It's a scam.

I make the scam accusation for two reasons;
First: Having put down false data in a couple of web sites to see how much it would cost me, I worked out that I could pay CDN$150 just for the privilege of living at I always have, which is fairly frugally. For this fee the various carbon offsetting organisations promise to plant trees / bury vegetable waste upon my behalf. Hold the phone! I did that stuff already! My family have composted waste and planted quite a few trees ourselves over the years. So why pay someone else to do what we've already done? Oh yes, and the Offsetting and trading companies prices for doing so look a bit higher than they should. By the same token, Logging companies who replant do more for the environment, and far more cheaply.
Second: It is a proven fact that atmospheric Carbon Dioxide levels lag behind any warming trend by twenty years or more, so therefore the argument that Carbon Dioxide causes global temperature increase is false and trying to 'offset' carbon is rather putting the cart before the horse.

Therefore I repeat my assertion that carbon offsetting is a scam. A con. A sop to excuse the jetsetting lifestyles of the Political class while the rest of us have to pay for their luxuries from our taxes. They meet at 5 star hotels, fly halfway around the world and then have the nerve to tell the rest of us what to do. We're being had. The Emperor is naked!