The British TV show Dispatches disses offsets in “The Great Green Smoke Screen” (downloadable here).
The show reports “flaws in a series of carbon offsetting schemes intended to make good the global warming gases emitted by flights and other polluting activities.” What kind of flaws?
Dispatches claims that schemes run by Climate Care, and promoted by BA [British Airways], took no account of the “multiplier” effect which increased the damage done by aviation fumes in the stratosphere by a factor of three. In other words, the schemes funded by BA passengers only mitigate one third of the damage that their flights cause. Climate Care, which uses a multiplier of two on its website, told Dispatches that it was unhappy about the way Britain’s biggest airline ran its scheme.
A project funded by BP to siphon methane gas from excrement at pig farms in Mexico will only produce half the savings claimed on the company’s website, which is now being amended.
In Bulgaria, Sky funds a hydro-power plant that turns water into low-pollution electricity but the manager, Vladislav Tsvetkov, said that Sky’s money, though welcome, was “not required” — a view backed by the Bulgarian bank which lent the capital. The manager later retracted his comments and the Carbon Neutral Company which administers the offsets insisted the money had been critical in establishing the plant.
At Donkleywood forest in Northumberland, the Carbon Neutral Company said the planting of the trees helped the climate. But it emerged that 70 percent of the funding came from the Forestry Commission.
I fear most offset projects are like this. Caveat Emptor!