Land, The Greatest Excuse of All – Offsets and accounting tricks instead of real solutions to the climate crisis
Great news. We have found a solution to climate change. After all the negotiating and hand wringing there is, at long last, a way out of this dilemma. And the good news is that it won’t be hard at all. In fact, it requires us to do pretty much nothing at all. Just put a fence around a piece of the back 40 and christen it “offset,” and, voila, you’ve got an excuse to keep on polluting.
This may seem too crazy to be true, but it is happening and it is why countries like Australia and the U.S. are suddenly agreeing to “reduce” their emissions (even if only by a paltry amount). By pushing land-based “sinks” into carbon markets, countries can conveniently count their forests, grasslands, and other ecosystems on the “assets” side of their greenhouse gas accounting worksheets. Is this reducing emissions? Of course not. It is no more than an accounting trick.