Thursday, August 6, 2009

Is Carbon offset the solution to global warming?

Discussions about global warming are usually considered overdone. The melting of icebergs in the Atlantic, the death of the polar bears and the threats of small islands vanishing under sea are nothing new. But how many people are actually aware of the extent of these threats of global warming? How many people and businesses are actually aware of their own contributions to global warming? How many people, businesses and governments are actually exerting efforts to minimize if not stop their contributions which are potentially harmful to the environment? And what could be those efforts?

Let’s talk about carbon offsets.

Big companies and businesses are the biggest contributors to global warming. However, while individual consumers’ effort to prevent further contribution to global warming such as minimizing the use of plastics or recycling and reusing of non- biodegradable materials would only mean a little of discomfort, forced reductions of greenhouse gas for businesses and companies would mean reduction of their profitable production. That is tantamount to losing in business. Reductions of greenhouse gas for them might include controlled frequency of travels via air and land, etc.

On the other hand, instead of us forcing companies and businesses to radical or impossible reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG), we can let them pay to reduce global GHG. This is how carbon offset comes in.

But how does carbon offset work?

Carbon offsets are measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) and may represent six primary categories of greenhouse gases. One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.

Offset companies first estimate a customer's personal carbon output. Their Web sites include carbon calculators that determine the total GHG produced by a year's worth of electricity or driving, an event or even a round-trip flight. Offset companies then charge an amount based on their own GHG price per ton. When you buy an offset, you fund projects that reduce GHG emissions. The projects might restore forests, update power plants and factories or increase the energy efficiency of buildings and transportation.

On the opposition side however, carbon offset is seen to encourage indulgence. It is a way for the guilty to pay for absolution rather than changing. According to English environmentalist George Monbiot, carbon offsets are an excuse for businesses as usual with regards to pollution.

The lack of regulation in the voluntary market is another issue. No standard governs the industry and some offset providers are even accused of exaggerating or misleading carbon reduction claims. For example, 1000 dollars offset used to fund the planting and growing of a 1000 trees in the Ecuador will be reported even if the trees died in two years.

With the above arguments given, thus the question; can carbon offset be the solution to global warming?


  1. Hi Glenn, yes, I hide my ShoutBox. No matter what, you can find it on "Menu" section....

    And sorry, I want you to know that the term "Global Warming" doesn't suit anymore in this curent time.

    In the 1970s we recognize the term "Greenhouse effect."

    Under Bush administration we recognize the term "Global Warming."

    Under Obama administration the "Global Warming" is no longer recognized as the Obama administration has changed it into "Climate Change."

    Thank you

    Best regards,

    Irfan Melodic Nugroho
    Melodramatic Mind

    Facts on the Recent News

  2. Hi Irfan!

    Thank you for your info, but how exactly does the term "global warming", "greenhouse effect" or "climate change" differ?

    Does the change of US administration and the different recognization of terms of the presidents also change the reality of the current environment phenomenon and the negative effects of excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) production?

    And what do you say about carbon offset to minimize further environmental threats?

    I'm eager to hear :)

  3. The entire subject is so questionable. I have always thought that the earth is always turning...we cannot see it but it is. So maybe it is just that the equator is now pointing to a different part of the earth and this is why there are so many extreme weather conditions.

    If the government would just tell the truth instead of all these half truths...maybe we could understand exactly what the heck is going on:)

  4. The three terms are actually the same. But you won't even see Bush calls "Greenhouse" for "global warming" and you won't hear Obama calls "global warming" for "climate change."

    Well, I've just realized those term changes from a report on a linguistics stating that Obama's "Linguistics team" has officially changed "global warming" to "climate change." It is because Obama wants to tell the world that his administration will be totally different from his predecessor.

    I once had a talk with a GreenPeace activist about this and I do strongly support their efforts on carbon offset. That's good idea. :)

    Best regards,

    Irfan Melodic Nugroho
    Melodramatic Mind

    Facts on the Recent News

  5. Thank you so much Irfan for sharing this.

    Regards back :)

  6. That's another good argument D! about all the "half-truths" :)


Thank you for your time. I'll get back to you soon. :)