Are Carbon Offsets Legitimate?

Jeff Jarvis has an interesting post on carbon offset plans. Basically, it sounds like a lot of these programs are poorly tracked, if they’re audited at all. The concept of donating to carbon-free investments to offset the carbon burned by traveling or your home is certainly of interest to many people. However, as Jarvis points out, it will only work if people believe in this new market:

Environmentally incorrect

For sometime, I’ve been wondering when we’d see a scandal over the rush to buy carbon credits, asking who’s auditing these companies. Now the Financial Times’ Fiona Harvey has investigated and found something stinky here.

He also mentions that a company in the UK has published Google Maps overlayed with infrared photos of homes showing which homes are giving off the most wasted energy. He asks if it’s environmentally incorrect to point out the wasteful behavior of residents.

3 thoughts on “Are Carbon Offsets Legitimate?”

  1. I read an article the other day comparing carbon offsets to “indulgences” that the Catholic Church sold back in the day. I thought it quite insightful.

    However, the point that he made (whether he meant to or not), was that some good things came out of the indulgences–namely the rebuilding of the St Peters in The Vatican. Maybe we’ll have something similar with the Carbon Offsets?

  2. I think I read the indulgences article in the International Herald Tribune, so it was probably a New York Times article. I believe it mentioned that European countries that signed onto the Kyoto Treaty actually audit companies offering carbon offset programs, so there is one more reason why Bush’s environmental policies are screwing America.

  3. It is true that there are concerns about dubious carbon offsetting donation schemes, but have you come across this site where you are able to effectively buy into one of more solar PV projects, help reduce CO2 and make a little money for your efforts? The auditing is implicit in that the projects make their money by generating solar electricity. They get paid by results.

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