Individuals can offset their own carbon emissions

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Individuals can offset their own carbon emissionsIf present trends continue, the aviation industry is en route to becoming a major contributor to global warming.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the pollution released by high-flying jets directly into the atmosphere is up to four times as damaging as the same amount released at ground level. And, at the current rate of growth, the number of daily passenger flights will double by 2050. It’s not just the carbon dioxide generated by burning aviation fuel that is of concern, but also the nitrogen oxides and the water vapour in the contrails

And there doesn’t seem to be any solution on the horizon. Any significant cut in pollution is likely to depend on radical changes in design, and aviation is a very conservative industry, for obvious safety reasons and the huge amount of investment involved. Air travel also is one activity people will be loath to give up for the sake of the planet. Interestingly, the industry was specifically excluded from the Kyoto agreement.

The problem of aviation has not been lost upon green entrepreneurs, who are also aware that a growing number of people are prepared to spend significant money to salve their consciences over flying. They have come up with an instant answer—carbon offsets. What you can do after you fly to see Outer Mongolia is plant some trees to soak up the greenhouse gases you generated, or perhaps invest in a renewable energy project.

Hop onto the web, and you’ll find any number of companies willing to help you out. Their websites all contain handy-dandy calculators to estimate your greenhouse gas emissions. Then, all you have to do is provide them with sufficient funds to pursue worthy projects and absolve your carbon debt.

Individuals can offset their own carbon emissionsOffsetting carbon is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, according to New Scientist conservation guru and feature writer, Fred Pearce. But it is also founded on a considerable amount of trust, he argues, because it is unregulated. How do you know, for instance, that with the best will in the world, the company you invested in will be able to nurse your tree plantation through decades of growth? And what will eventually happen to the carbon in the timber? Who is to say that the energy project in which you invested is additional to what would have been done anyway?



Archimedes thinks he might have another answer—along the same lines, but closer to home. It’s a solution where you can know for sure that you are making a difference. It’s a genuine exercise in Thinking Global, Acting Local.

Cutting down your impact on the Earth not only means changing attitudes and behaviour, it also often means spending money—to buy a solar hot water service, revamp your insulation or install an efficient drip watering system in the garden. And while the spirit is willing, the cash flow can be weak (even if the investment could save you money in the long term).

How about using the software so freely available on the web to calculate the greenhouse cost of that flight from Sydney to Perth and, instead of paying a company to cultivate trees in Borneo, putting that same amount into a special bank account. Then, when you want to green up your life, you will have the money on hand to do so. And if you really get into it, you could add a premium for your car travel to your green savings account as well!

 

 

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I always find Archimedes' perspective to be inciteful and I thank him for his contribution.
I would like to complement his article by drawing readers attention to the July 2006 edition of the New Internationalist entitled "CO2NNED -Carbon offsets stripped bare" for an indepth analysis of the contribution the carbon offset industry is really making to the reduction of the impact of carbon emissions.
Noel will | 04 April 2007


I always find Archimedes' perspective to be inciteful and I thank him for his contribution.
I would like to complement his article by drawing readers attention to the July 2006 edition of the New Internationalist entitled "CO2NNED -Carbon offsets stripped bare" for an indepth analysis of the contribution the carbon offset industry is really making to the reduction of the impact of carbon emissions.
Noel will | 04 April 2007


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