I’ve written before about the carbon offsetting con and in my update I mentioned the wonderful Cheat Neutral site.
Now I figured I should embed their splendid video here too for your delight and enjoyment:
Their about page is also great, and so I reproduce that here too…
Cheatneutral is about offsetting infidelity. We’re the only people doing it, and Cheatneutral is a joke.
Carbon offsetting is about paying for the right to carry on emitting carbon.
The Carbon offset industry sold £60 million of offsets last year, and is
rapidly growing. Carbon offsetting is also a joke.
Find out more:
- The New Internationalist’s offset special: www.newint.org/issues/2006/07/01
- George Monbiot on offsetting: www.monbiot.com/archives/2006/10/19/selling-indulgences
- and: www.monbiot.com/archives/2006/01/17/buying-complacency
- An excellent, detailed analysis of offsetting: www.carbontradewatch.org/pubs/carbon_neutral_myths.pdf
Five ways that Cheatneutral is like carbon offsetting:
- Cheatneutral tries to make it seem acceptable to cheat on your partner.
In the same way, carbon offsetting tries to make it acceptable to carry
on emitting excess carbon.
- Cheatneutral doesn’t really do much to reduce the amount of cheating in
the world. Carbon offsetting does very little to reduce global carbon
- It seems impossible to measure how much harm cheating on someone does.
With carbon offsetting, there is currently no practically feasible way
of measuring how much carbon offset projects actually save.
- Having Cheatneutral’s services available could actually encourages you
to cheat more. If the carbon offsetters persuade you that it’s possible
to offset your emissions, you’ll carry on emitting excess carbon through
your lifestyle rather than think about reducing your emissions.
- Cheatneutral is fundamentally the wrong way to go about solving problems
with your relationships. Carbon offsetting is fundamentally the wrong
way to go about tackling climate change.
Two ways which Cheatneutral is not like carbon offsetting:
- We don’t make any money out of Cheatneutral. Offset companies in the
voluntary carbon market take a cut of every transaction and make a
- Cheatneutral is a joke we thought up in the pub. Carbon offsetting
presents itself as a credible solution to climate change, described by
the government’s chief scientist Sir David King as
“the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even
than the threat of terrorism…”
What can I do instead?
- Measure your carbon footprint. There are good resources to do this online —
visit www.resurgence.org/carboncalculator for a good, detailed analysis of your footprint. For a slightly quicker calculator try www.carbongym.co.uk, or www.chooseclimate.org to look in more depth at the CO2 emissions associated with flying.
- Think about reducing your carbon footprint. There are lots of easy ways to reduce the emissions from various areas of your life. You might want to think about your home,
transport and what you eat and consume. There are lots of resources on the internet to help you reduce your emissions.
- Learn about Contraction and Convergence. C&C is a framework for agreeing a global cap on carbon emissions. We believe that to make our individual sacrifices count, we need a global framework that caps the amount of carbon emitted, creates a timeframe for reducing emissions to a safe level, and distributes carbon credits equitably. C&C satisfies all of these, and would make carbon trading fair and effective. Good resources are www.climatejustice.org.uk and www.gci.org.uk
- Use your influence as a citizen. You could lobby your MP for the adoption of C&C and telling them you are concerned about climate change. You can also talk to and lobby your elected representatives from local and regional and European government. You can find out who your MP is at www.theyworkforyou.com. Think about joining a pressure group, lobby group or charity that you feel shares and promotes your concerns.
- Get together with your friends or family and discuss what you think. How we face up to the new challenges of climate change should be something everyone has an opinion on. Although individual action is needed, we also need ways to make government and businesses take a lead in responsibly dealing with emission reduction.