I know you’ve all been eagerly waiting for this–don’t worry, I don’t have many more rules. I got sidetracked by last week’s offset hearing.
Offset projects should deliver climate benefits with high confidence — that’s a key reason trees make lousy offsets, especially non-urban, non-tropical trees. An even more dubious source of offsets is geo-engineering, which is “the intentional large scale manipulation of the global environment” to counteract the effects of global warming.
As John Holdren, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, noted in 2006, “The ‘geo-engineering’ approaches considered so far appear to be afflicted with some combination of high costs, low leverage, and a high likelihood of serious side effects.”
The only reason for this rule is that a company, Planktos, wants to sell offset credits for carbon that is supposedly sequestered when iron is seeded in the ocean to create algae blooms. Seriously. (This is the same company that is selling trees as offsets to the Vatican.)
This is such a dubious idea that 18 leading experts from 13 countries, who comprise the Scientific Steering Committee of the Surface Ocean–Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS)–a leadin group studying the ocean-atmosphere system–went to the trouble of issuing a “Position Statement on Large-Scale Ocean Fertilisation” last month: