Are Carbon Offsets Real?
December 18, 2006 7:50 PM   Subscribe

It may feel hip to go carbon neutral, but are carbon offsets real? Now you can find out by reading Clean Air Cool Planet's Consumer's Guide to Carbon Offsets which asseses 30 providers of carbon neutrality and sets out criteria for understanding which are doing the best to help you save the planet. The consumer's guide reads more like an enviro geeks master's thesis, but it quickly becomes clear that the core of the matter is additionality, i.e. to what extent will this investment create emission reductions in addition to those that would have occured in its absence. If this is all too much for you and just want to cut to chase and save the world, you should just take the pledge at Treasure Our Planet. It's pretty simple stuff.
posted by alms (12 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Apologies for not labeling the second link as a PDF. Jessamyn?
posted by alms at 7:58 PM on December 18, 2006

Look, I'm going to crap on your face.
But I'm going to pay someone else to not
crap on your face.
See, that offsets my crapping on your face.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:25 PM on December 18, 2006 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the information, I'm always collecting these resources since I am trying to move my organization in this direction.

posted by bumpkin at 8:41 PM on December 18, 2006

im in ur suv, killing ur f00mz
posted by ericbop at 8:54 PM on December 18, 2006

How much carbon is released to make a bunch of stickers to tell everyone that you've released less carbon into the atmosphere?
posted by porpoise at 9:17 PM on December 18, 2006

The embodied energy of a sticker will have to do as an estimate for you, porpoise: (from here)

Paper: 36.4 MJ/kg
PVC: 70.0 MJ/kg

Assuming a sticker weighs about 5g, 4 of which is vinyl and 1 paper, the embodied energy of the sticker is about 315 kJ... or about the energy value of the gasoline consumed in 1/5th of a second worth of full power from the 325-horsepower Hummer H2.
posted by anthill at 9:45 PM on December 18, 2006 [2 favorites]

Oops, forgot to fill in the anchor links for references: one two three
posted by anthill at 9:47 PM on December 18, 2006

My company ( just started (two weeks ago) looking into offering carbon offsets for all the books we ship to customers. is the only company that has a specific shipping offset program (CarbonFree Shipping), so we're looking hard at them. But Climate Trust is a local Portland organization AND is in the top ten providers, according to this report.
On the whole, though, I feel that getting this information more out in front of consumers (even if the offset is not as good as it could be) is better than not...
posted by mrnutty at 9:57 PM on December 18, 2006

In this order:




reimburse? [carbon offsets]
posted by nofundy at 6:44 AM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

OR you can do like I did and buy a Smart Car. Canucks get the diesel standard which is even more fuel effiecient than the gas engine. 5L/100km. That's 50 miles/gallon. I would say that helps in offsetting some carbon.
Oh and if you're thinking that the diesel is more poluting, you'd be wrong. Low sulphur diesel being burned using common rail and an O2 infuser has reduced NO2 emissions to almost neglegible. Far less than the tail emissions for a similar gasoline version.
posted by pezdacanuck at 9:39 AM on December 19, 2006

Boy, that really sums up my thoughts on the subject, Bighappyfunhouse.
posted by davejay at 12:32 PM on December 19, 2006

I wish I had the extra money to be carbon neutral.
posted by rfbjames at 10:33 PM on December 20, 2006

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