TerraPass members have now balanced out a total of over 1 billion pounds of carbon emissions, all by purchasing carbon offsets from Terrapass.com or from TerraPass business partners like Expedia.com, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Climate Change Chocolate. We’re a mission-driven business, and our mission is to help individuals and small businesses finance verified reductions in carbon reductionsI can't tell if I am happy or sad to get this email. On the one hand, I think these guys are slightly dodgy; on the other, carbon offsets are the amazing market solution to minimizing the cost of carbon emissions.
But something doesn't seem right.
- Payments go for emissions reductions "below baseline", and baseline is sometimes a projection of where emissions would go.
- Does planting a tree today count for a carbon credit if the same tree would have been planted in a week? How long does that tree have to stay in place? Forever, presumably, if you are trying to offset carbon emissions -- but trees don't live forever!
- These offsets are bought on one side of the planet and sold on another so it's hard to know if what you bought is what was sold.
- Offsets don't do anything to reduce carbon emissions; in fact, they may encourage them by giving people a "guilt-free" reason to consume.