Carbon offsetting has been compared to the selling of ‘indulgences’ by the medieval Church, a way of assuaging the guilt evoked by the carbon emissions associated with modern life, i.e. heating, cooling, driving and especially flying. In like manner, offsetting is critiqued for sending funds to developing world projects rather than those ‘worthy projects’ closer to home with which we are familiar and may be more predisposed to support. So, here are a few words to explain where we’re coming from.
In December 2015, under the auspices of the United Nations 195 countries agreed in Paris to slow global warming. Carbon emissions are its primary cause and reducing them is the primary goal of the Paris Agreement. It applies to governments, businesses and individuals, all of whom are asked to reduce their respective carbon footprints. But where further reductions are not possible, carbon offsetting is allowed and encouraged by the Paris Agreement, especially when offset projects are duly selected, monitored and verified for maximum impact. Sadly, most of our ‘local projects’ are not.
The Findhorn Ecovillage Community is committed to being part of this world-wide effort and has, among other initiatives, established a carbon offset service through the Community Benefit Charity PET. It is further supported in this effort by the Findhorn Foundation and New Findhorn Association (NFA).
PET’s Offset Projects have been chosen for their social and environmental benefits, primarily in developing countries where the effects of climate change are most severe. And in addition to reducing global emissions, offsetting there provides much needed employment, health improvement, biodiversity and social benefits to impoverished communities (project details here).
Carbon offsetting helps to combat global climate change, often functioning within the business sector as an internal ‘carbon tax’ that spurs creativity in reducing &/or avoiding emissions. In this and other respects, our offset projects also serve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals whose realisation, together with the Paris Agreement, will create a more sustainable world.
And if you want more convincing? Listen to this from COP24, Poland December 2018.