Should Carbon Offsets Be Mandatory

My wife and I are planning to travel to Vienna for our 30th anniversary, which means we will be flying. Although our specific plans are not made yet, I decided to see what the cost of carbon offsets for our return flight would be if we flew via Air Canada to Frankfurt return. At economy the flights would cost about $2700 and the carbon offsets approximately $40 (about 1.5 % of the cost). The carbon offsets would pay for a reforestation project that would supposedly offset the carbon released into the atmosphere by our share of the flights.

The problem with carbon offsets is that they can be used to buy off your guilt and to justify to yourself that your carbon emitting activities are not part of the problem. You can drive the gas guzzling SUV and take the overseas vacations and buy your way out of responsibility.

The other problem is that we need to reduce our carbon dioxide emitting activities at the same time as we undertake the kind of environmental projects, such as reforestation projects, that the carbon offsets finance.

But the fact is that some people are just not going to care and will refuse to limit their carbon creating habits, while those that are environmentally conscious are still going to have to travel by automobile or air at times, even if they consciously limit such travel.

The best way to do our part is to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible and offset those we cannot reduce with environmental projects such as reforestation. Carbon offsets are one way of doing that, and they should not be limited to the voluntary contributions of the environmentally conscious.

Carbon offsets should be mandatory and built into the cost of air travel, gasoline and other vehicle fuels.


Jasmine said...

man you guys sound so classy.. going to vienna and all. oh yea and also.. yes i agree. Helping with these projects should not be instead of reducing carbon emissions they should be as well as that.

Anonymous said...

Environmentalism is the new world religion. Al Gore is its high priest/pope. Carbon offsets are the new indulgence one can pay for sins one is about to commit or has committed.

The faces and names have changed, but the game is still the same.