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Oct 19 / Jonathan

Selling Indulgences: Monbiot on carbon trading

George Monbiot suggests that “The trade in carbon offsets is an excuse for business as usual”:

The problem is this. If runaway climate change is not to trigger the irreversible melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and drive hundreds of millions of people from their homes, the global temperature rise must be confined to 2C above pre-industrial levels. As the figures I have published in Heat show, this requires a 60% cut in global climate emissions by 2030, which means a 90% cut in the rich world. Even if, through carbon offset schemes carried out in developing countries, every poor nation on the planet became carbon-free, we would still have to cut most of the carbon we produce at home. Buying and selling carbon offsets is like pushing the food around on your plate to create the impression that you have eaten it.

Also: Monbiot’s new book, HEAT, and a website, turn up the heat.

My fear is not that people will stop talking about climate change. My fear is that they will talk us to Kingdom Come.
Few corporations or public figures are now stupid enough to deny that climate change is happening, or that we need to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. Instead, most of them now claim to be on the side of the angels. They make public statements or publish reports designed to persuade us that they are “working towards sustainability”.
In a few cases, they really are. But for every genuine reformer, there are half a dozen who are simply greenwashing their existing practices. The people who will destroy the ecosystem are not, or not only – sneering industrialists in pinstriped suits, but nice-looking people in open-necked shirts who claim that they are just as concerned as the rest of us to save the planet.
This site aims to ensure that they don’t get away with it. Its purpose is to expose the fudged figures, dodgy claims and empty public relations campaigns of the charming people who are wrecking the biosphere.

One Comment

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  1. Rami / Dec 12 2012

    Reducing emissions of CO2 has got to be the porriity, yes. But planting trees to offset emissions can also play a part. The worlds remnant forests are currently doing a great job of clearing up after us by absorbing 20-25% of human ghg emissions. We are losing that forest at the rate of 17 million acres a year. We need to be very busy planting more trees not less!!Its not a question of reducing emissions or offsetting them. The scale of the problem is so massive that we have to use every available weapon to reduce the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.Think again?Ru Hartwell Treeflights.com

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