How and where to offset my carbon?

In the now annual tradition (2008, 2009, 2010), I tallied up all the flights taken last year and used the CarbonPlanet.com tool to calculate the carbon footprint. I took a total of 36 flights and that adds up to 17.4 tonnes of CO2-e, whatever that really is.

I’m not much of an environmentalist at all. But I do like the romantic idea that I should leave this Earth in a state no worse off because of my existence. Whilst recycling may make you feel that you’re making a difference, I believe that if I apply the Pareto principle, the overwhelming majority of my impact on the Earth comes through flying (I’m happy to be proven wrong on this). So, if I want to make an impact, that’s where I should concentrate my efforts.

Aside from not flying at all, the next best alternative is to offset the carbon footprint through purchasing carbon credits (which are used by the organisation to plant trees and so on). In previous years, I used ClimateCare.org, a non-profit operated by JPMorgan. They clearly used this as part of their CSR programme, and I felt assured that they were at least not seeking to make a profit from the service.

However, ClimateCare is now independent and for-profit, and I’m left confused how I should proceed. The UK Government list some approved offsets, but only one of these (Pure) is a non-profit charity. Whilst a for-profit may invest less of your Pound into projects, perhaps the money is worked harder by smarter people? Or perhaps I’m looking at this all wrong and I should instead directly invest in specific green projects? Or in companies developing new technologies?

What do you think I should do?

 Tags: Random   Published: 30th March '12


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