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12 September, 2007

Carbon Offsetting Abuse

I know, its boring. Everywhere the hot topic of the moment is carbon offsetting. But it was only recently that I realised what carbon offsetting is all about. I bet you, like me, thought it was all about saving the planet. Well no.
The first thing its about is money, and lots of it. But it seems, and you could not make this up, the other thing is about abusing people in poor areas of the world. For example one company will offset your carbon by buying a foot operated water pump. Sounds reasonable?
The way this offsets the carbon you generated on your holiday flight is to take away a diesel powered water pump from a family in some less fortunate area of the world and give them the foot operated pump. They then work for 3 hours a day to pump the water they need but they don't generate any diesel fumes. Excellent, well for you on your flight anyway.
How can someone in the West ever think taking away powered equipment from a poorer nation is in any way offsetting, its just abuse.
The company doing this justifies their action by saying that the people no longer have to go to work to earn money to hire the diesel pump so they have a better quality of life as well. Tosh.
The next step could be to bring this closer to home, find everyone who can only afford say a 4 year old ford car, take it away from them and give them running shoes to offset the carbon generated by those who can afford a new BMW say.
Or take the heating away from everyone who lives in a flat and give them pullovers to offset the carbon generated by those living in large houses.
Sounds crazy doesn't it, but its exactly how some companies are offsetting your carbon, its just that those getting abused are not in this country.

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