So I bought this tree...
August 27, 2008 1:16 AM   Subscribe

What are the best carbon-offsetting schemes out there?

I really want to travel by plane a couple of times in the next couple of years, but I'm aware that this will contribute to the mass global die-off, so I feel a little guilty and want to do something about it.
I've heard a lot of bad things about carbon-offsetting, but I know that global warming is a problem that needs money throwing at it. Upgrading global infrastructure to a low carbon model is going to require trillions, so I'm sure money can be spent well in this area so that my net impact is at least neutral.
My question is: what are the most bad-ass, gold-plated methods of offsetting your carbon emissions? Renewable technology research funds? Buying up sections of the Amazon? There's got to be something that works.

Thanks in advance.

(P.S. A couple of questions have already been asked about this, but they're a couple of years old now, and I know this is a field that moves fast.)
posted by greytape to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Carbon offsetting," or "carbon credits" or whatever they call it is nothing more than a scam. Period the end.

If you want to do something good, do something good. If you want to give money to some sort of research, give it. But paying someone else to tell you they planted a sapling isn't going to pull kerosene exhaust out of the upper atmosphere, and it may not even get a tree in the dirt.
posted by paisley henosis at 1:44 AM on August 27, 2008

Best answer: As Paisley says, carbon offsetting is more a guilt reduction scheme than something to achieve anything useful. highlights the problems in an excellent fashion.

All that said, I think have an interesting (and more valid) slant on the offsetting idea. Rather than pay for carbon reduction somewhere completely unrelated to you, they'll be buying up carbon emission allowances in the UK, making it more expensive for firms operating here to produce carbon emissions and so helping to clean up our act.
posted by amcewen at 2:45 AM on August 27, 2008

I have offset long-haul flights twice in the past, using The Guardian keep pace with offsetting news at this page. Their investigation last year suggested that most schemes (possibly including achieve nothing at all. Sandbag looks really good though, in fact so good that I've just given them £25, since I'm flying again next month for work.
posted by roofus at 3:01 AM on August 27, 2008

Mail order brides, ostrich farms, dead cert stocks, strangely friendly rich Nigerians in a spot of bother, people offering to buy your card for 20% more than your asking price.... The Guardian have warned carbon trading schemes are due to join the biggest scams to watch out for.
posted by rongorongo at 3:59 AM on August 27, 2008

trees emit carbon dixoide.
posted by complience at 6:46 AM on August 27, 2008

The best way to "offset" the occasional plane flight?
Live a low-impact life every other day of the year.
posted by OLechat at 6:55 AM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes, complience, they do. They also generally absorb more than they emit. Your point is what?
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:00 AM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Watch Penn & Teller's episode of Bullshit about carbon offsetting in this latest season. They readily admit a bias against the environmentalist cause, but it is entertaining and eye-opening at the same time.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:31 AM on August 27, 2008

Carbon offsetting is not just about planting trees, it is also heavily involved in using that money to invest in clean technologies to get us off of a carbon economy in the first place.
posted by BobbyDigital at 7:35 AM on August 27, 2008

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