Offsets for people who don’t think they’re a good idea

I’ve worried before about my mammoth carbon footprint, particularly as I flit across North America giving talks. I’m convinced that the solutions to climate change proposed by George Monbiot in Heat are among the most sensible, with individual carbon accounts for everyone, and trading between each of us to balance out the disproportionate damage caused by people like me.

It’s important to fight for that system but, while we fight, there is other work to be done. Individual offsets, in some form, seem to me to be a part of that. Granted, the folk at CheatNeutral brilliantly put the boot into the idea of carbon offsets – see the video below for more.

But my friend Anirvan Chatterjee, who stands fully behind Monbiot’s arguments, is nonetheless serious about getting to the bottom of what’s good and bad about carbon offsets. His new site, Offset Consumer is online here, and it’s very helpful.

In Anirvan’s words:

A lot of really nice people buy personal carbon offsets without understanding that they vary in quality and price. Offset Consumer’s an attempt to bridge that gap by helping folks make better choices (environmentally and financially) with their carbon offset dollar.

Offsets are problematic in a number of ways, but many of these concerns are lessened or irrelevant when looking at small individual purchases of very high quality offset products; CarbonCounter (www.carboncounter.org), the recommended provider, is really kickass.