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The science is clear – there is an urgent need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere. We can only control those greenhouse gases which we as a species are causing to be emitted into our atmosphere in ever larger volumes. This pollution is causing climate change which is already having serious negative impacts on the environment, the food security and the livelihoods of our fellow human beings.
The principle that pollution should be controlled and that the polluter should pay to avoid causing pollution by capturing and dealing with pollution at source was established in the nineteenth century. We do not accept that asbestos, sulphides (which cause acid rain) or chemical effluent can be discharged into our environment without let or hindrance in return for preserving freshwater in Canada. Green house gases are pollutants like any other; they poison our environment and make it less habitable for ourselves and other species.
The purchasing of carbon offsets is a dangerous distraction, the purchase of medieval pardons, permits to continue to pollute, would not be accepted for asbestos, sulphides or chemical effluent. They should not be accepted for carbon pollution – a form of pollution which threatens far more disastrous consequence for our species and our environment. – offsetting has become the Trojan Horse of anti-pollution strategies for greenhouse gases.
Friends of the Earth have just produced a damming report on carbon offsetting.
Carbon Offsetting – a dangerous distraction
The road to hell is paved with good intentions – it is time to move on from carbon offsetting. Carbon offsetting is part of the problem not part of the solution.
This is not to argue that all carbon offset projects are unworthy, some do assist people to adapt to the consequences of climate change and those of us who contribute to climate change have a responsibly to assist those adversely affected to adapt . Our responsibility is to mitigate by flying less and more carbon efficiently and then to fund adaptation, see Flysmart.