Thursday, March 15, 2007

Going carbon neutral

It’s hip, it’s trendy… and it’s wildly unregulated.

Everyone is going "carbon neutral". The latest to join the craze is US Presidential candidate John Edwards. He has pledged to run a carbon-neutral campaign by “conserving” energy and purchasing carbon offsets. The other candidates are bound to ante up.

Is this even possible? Offsetting the emissions from the campaigns of every US Presidential candidate may require reforesting the entire country. A truly efficient solution would be shortening the campaign by, say, a year or so.

It raises an important question. Which carbon offset-ers can you trust? The proliferation of companies offering to sell carbon offsets is a more than a bit suspicious. Many cannot, and are not required to, confirm that your money will result in a reduction in GHG emissions. The same problem is happening at the macro-scale, with EU countries investing in many questionable offset schemes in China through the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism.

I can recommend a few relatively trustworthy operations (check here, bottom of page). In many cases, the exact reductions cannot be confirmed, but an effort is at least being made.

If you know of more, let me know. And maybe John Edwards, Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton and whomever else declares in the next few months.

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