Things to Think About
There is nothing wrong with people wanting to restore whatever they have consumed from the planet. If everyone practiced the philosophy, the planet would likely find itself in a decade or so with an abundance of restored resources versus depletion risks. However, like so much of modern life, people are often unable to do the work themselves, so the idea of paying someone to take care of the offsetting offers convenience. However, this approach to responsibility raises a number of issues, including:
- Is offsetting only practiced by those who can afford and wish to pay for it?
- Is it an excuse to keep on polluting when prevention can be far more effective?
- How is the offsetting service bought actually verified or confirmed to offset a person’s carbon production?
There is no question that a business model has developed around carbon offsetting, which in itself begs the question of how effective the approach is at actually removing carbon. Many of the smaller operations simply find an existing activity, call it a carbon offset, and then ask for money from environmentally conscious folks to abate their own carbon use. However, in practice, no actual carbon offsetting is occurring.
Further though, how effective is carbon offsetting if it’s only initiated by those who feel they can afford to pay for the offset, especially if they go and produce more carbon again? There are a lot of people using and producing carbon who can’t or won’t fit the cost of an offset into their personal budget. So the effectiveness of the approach begs the question as to whether offsetting in general is a waste of time.