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Offsets Are a CROC

Mike Gaworecki

If you do something good for the environment, does it make any sense that you should then be entitled to do something bad to the environment?

Of course it doesn’t. And yet that is basically what corporate polluters are pushing for as climate legislation makes its way through Congress. Rather than making required pollution cuts, they want to use “carbon offsets,” which would essentially allow them to continue their dirty, polluting business as usual while outsourcing green jobs and cleaner skies elsewhere…mostly overseas!

Amazingly, despite the fact that offsets could totally undermine our efforts to combat global warming –letting polluters increase greenhouse gas emissions for years to come – there is now a group out there advocating carbon offsets be made available to individuals, so that regular folks can also be entitled to do something bad to the environment if they do something good for it. The group is called the Carbon Regulatory Offset Committee (CROC). Check out this video from their charismatic spokesman, Carl Cordova:

Offsets work like this: rather than making required emissions reductions, polluters outsource their obligations – paying others to protect forests overseas, for instance. The flaws in this scheme are manifold. Aside from allowing polluters to evade their responsibility to reduce their emissions as quickly as possible in order to prevent runaway global warming, offsets are difficult to measure and verify.

How much forest, a living ecosystem that is constantly changing, do you have to protect to equal a ton of carbon? How do you make sure it gets protected over the long-term? If it burns in a totally natural forest fire, does it still count as an offset? Most importantly, how do you make sure the same amount of deforestation doesn’t just happen somewhere else instead?

You really need to check out to appreciate just how insane offsets are.

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Mike Gaworecki is a web editor and blogger for Greenpeace based out of San Francisco

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