"Climate Progress in the Toronto Star on Offsets"
The “virtuous traveler” at the Toronto Star interviewed me for an article on offsetting air travel, “The winds of (climate) change.” The piece is pretty good. Here are some highlights:
Joseph Romm, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of Hell and High Water, is a critic of tree-planting as a carbon offset option.
“Trees take a long time to grow and they can be cut down,” he says. “I think planting and preserving trees is a good thing, but it won’t solve global warming.”
Offsets might “leave people with the impression that you can solve the climate problem by spending a few bucks,” he says. “The solution is going to take a lot of hard work for many decades.”
Still, he admits they are a step in the right direction.
“If you get well-credentialled offsets, it’s a good idea,” he says, suggesting that green-minded travellers seek out offset companies focused on clean energy projects.
The article focuses on the two offset companies that testified with me in July, Terrapass and Native Energy, both of whom seem well-credentialed. The article notes that a very high standard for offsets exists:
World Wildlife Fund International, among others, created Gold Standard label, which is awarded to offset projects that also cultivate sustainable development. The Gold Standard label is endorsed by more than 44 non-governmental organizations worldwide.
This third-party verification is critical, says Romm.
“It’s a key component to a good offset program.”
Whatever offset program you choose, use it together with sincere attempts to reduce your carbon footprint.