Pope Buys a Papal Indulgence

pope.jpgApparently the Vatican doesn’t read Climate Progress or even Gristmill. They just bought themselves a bunch of trees to offset their entire greenhouse gas emissions.

Okay, some don’t like the papal indulgence analogy, though others do. And to be fair, the press release notes the Vatican is “steadily reducing its carbon footprint with energy efficiency and solar power”–and the new trees in Hungary apparently satisfy the relatively tough criteria for “EU JI Track 1 approval.”

But 100% new trees is just not a good offset strategy as I and others have repeatedly argued — and especially trees as far north as Hungary. Also the company they are buying from, Planktos/KlimaFa, is part of the same company that is hoping to sell dubious geo-engineering as offsets (more on that in a later post).

We just can’t indulge ourselves in the false hope that cheap trees are a viable solution to the climate crisis.

One Response to Pope Buys a Papal Indulgence

  1. Green Catholic says:

    Pardon the pun here, but I think your post misses the forest for the trees. Whatever your feelings about religion, Catholicism, and old men with large hats (aka. The Pope), as someone concerned with the environment you have to be encouraged by the Vatican’s aggressive move toward environmental sustainability. There are 1.1 billion Catholics in the world (one-sixth of the World’s population for those keeping score at home) that the Vatican has some degree of influence over. The Pope’s ability to create greater environmental awareness and action–he does have a direct line from God after all–is immense, likely more so than say Al Gore’s or Shakira’s.

    You’re post should be talking about that phenomenon (and the growing link between religious movements and the environment in general) rather than taking cynical potshots at one piece of the Vatican’s overall environmental strategy.

    Yes, offsets are not a panacea for climate change–we get it. But let’s not criticize and discourage a larger movement over one bit of feel good (albeit flawed) strategy. After all, last time I checked trees were still good for the environment. Or has that changed?