/ Offetting one's carbon footprint

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Blobb on 12 Dec 2011 -
Is it worth making the effort/donation to offset my carbon footprint? Will it make any difference, really?
I usualy fly around 80 -100 times a year and about half of those are long haul. While this may be great for my flying blue platinum miles it's not so good for my (small but growing) green consience.
So my question is what can I do to lessen my impact? Forgive the schoolboy naivety but I have only recently started to give a damn about this.
teflonpete - on 12 Dec 2011
In reply to Blobb:

ClimberEd from this parish is the man to talk to, he works in carbon offsetting or summat like that.
ClimberEd - on 12 Dec 2011
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Blobb)
> ClimberEd from this parish is the man to talk to, he works in carbon offsetting or summat like that.

Ha, quite true 'summat like that'. Am just hitting the sack but I'll try and write something informed tomorrow.

The bottom line is yes, if you have to fly, it is worth buying offsets - from the right company.
liz j on 12 Dec 2011
In reply to Blobb:
Ditch your car and get a horse and cart for starters....
Conf#2 on 12 Dec 2011
In reply to Blobb:

Yeah - I'm sure CEd will be more informed, but just to highlight it's important to buy them from the right company. A lot of companies don't put the money to good use, or use it for projects which are actually not all that great.

Was doing a bit of research on them last month and came across this - which is pretty funny parody, highlighting some of the bad bits of offsetting.

But as an individual thing - yeah! (ClimberEd will be more informative)
Dave Garnett - on 12 Dec 2011
In reply to Blobb:

It's crucial for your karma to make a contribution to offset your evil emissions. I plant lots of trees. Send me a contribution and I might plant some more but, much more importantly, you'll feel better, which is the main thing.
ClimberEd - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to Blobb:

Well the first thing is to not think of it as legitimsing your actions, otherwise it will do your head in, as per cheat neutral.

However, if you have to fly (or whatever else might emit GHGs) you can pay towards a project, somewhere else (normally the developing work) that will be reducing emissions. Theoretically, you produce x tonnes when you fly, so you will pay for the reduction of x tonnes in a project. Whether these emissions will be an absolute reduction on business as usual is another large bone of contention. Again, I take the view that it is better to get these projects up and running than not have them at all. The money you spend does facilitate that action, the revenues from selling credits being the main financing process for these projects.

Projects can take many forms from a pure renewable/fossil fuel substitute at one end e.g. a wind farm in China to handing out efficient woodfuel stoves to the poorest sections of society in Kenya.

Broadly there are two types, they can go through the official UN system, which has more stringent standards, creating credits known as CERs. Or they can be 'voluntary credits' which vary from a voluntary code of process (often under the VCS) to none at all with a company claiming they have credit 'credits' through 'emission reductions'.

Overlay this with 'the gold standard', known as GS, a 3rd party NGO run system, which requires projects to have a sustainable development component to get certified. So a wind farm in China is highly unlikely to get GS certified, a project in kenya more so.

GS projects can be UN or voluntary, but if they have GS then they will be robust. So either would do. (pick a project that takes your fancy)

So, to get to the point, yes, it's worth offsetting. No, unless you are very lazy, I wouldn't just tick the box on your airline booking form (probably large scale CDM energy, or hydro projects).

The GS and project developers can be found here

I would suggest ClimateCare (and their website) as a good starting point

Hope that's somehelp, was trying to be pragmatic rather than stir up a debate.

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