Offsetting on a global scale?

The UK's pledge this week of £100m to help developing nations protect their rainforests is a cause for mixed emotions here.

Taken at face value, I guess it's great news - less trees being chopped down has got to be good for carbon levels.

But the cynic in me can't help picturing a certain scenario, a few years down the line when we're struggling to meet the self-imposed targets of the Climate Change Act and the associated carbon budgets.

Then we'll hear how the emissions saved by the UK's support in these countries will count when we're totting up our greenhouse gas output.

Although Government is careful to point out that there will be a robust system in place to verify emissions, I can't help feel carbon offsetting is never quite the same thing as reducing carbon emissions at source.

I suppose the net result is the same, but the way it's being presented is what bothers me. Nobody's saying up front that this is an offsetting exercise on a grand scale, it's being presented as us doing good and doing the right thing by our poorer global citizens.

Which it is, I have to admit, to a degree.

But why we can't just say 'we need to reduce our emissions and this is the cheapest way of doing it' is beyond me.Tim Door

Topics: Energy efficiency & low-carbon
Tags: | gas
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