Should I recycle the waste from carbon off-setting? Blog Discussion

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
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This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's "Should I recycle the waste from carbon off-setting?" blog. Please read the blog first, as the discussion follows it.


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Replies

  • mjr600mjr600 Forumite
    760 Posts
    Come on Martin have a little balance here. Your experience regarding 'advertising' the fact that you offset your carbon use is exactly the reason that carbon offsetting is snake oil for the 21st century. I posted a thread like this in the Green and Ethical forum just last week.

    "Carbon offsetting has to be the biggest scam of our current era, feelgood marketing based on hysteria from a scaremongering media and reports from scientists who without climate research funding would be flipping burgers.

    As a money saver I urge you not to give money to these offsetting sites, they prey on your conscience, your insecurities and your wallet."

    The jury is out on man made warming, sure the temperature has been warmer for the past few years but the earth is billions of years old and the sun is the major factor.

    I am very surprised that as THE MSE you would push cash to these offsetting people. Surely there should be no price difference between the offsetting sites, there should be no competition, there should be a fixed price based on the tonnes used, just the fact that the price is different suggests that this new phenomenon is open to question.
  • going2die_richgoing2die_rich Forumite
    1.4K Posts
    I agree, these offsetting schemes are just scams to rid you of money from your wallet to ease your guilt.

    We need heating and lighting, if the world is effected then I guess we will have to adapt to the changing world. It can't be stopped, it can barely be slowed down.

    If you must have the tree hugging menatality, you are better off spending the money buying yourself some plants/trees and putting them in your own garden since you know it's done and will be protected properly.
  • GSGGSG Forumite
    4 Posts
    mjr600 wrote: »
    Carbon offsetting has to be the biggest scam of our current era, feelgood marketing based on hysteria from a scaremongering media and reports from scientists who without climate research funding would be flipping burgers.

    I wouldn't say Carbon offsetting is a scam, but you have to find a decent organisation to provide a decent level of service - which may not be the cheapest, sadly. There are bound to be some companies out there who do very little for your carbon offset pound, this is the nature of a free market.

    You obviously know very little about scientists and even less about science; science is about finding the best explanations for things that we observe, and real scientists don't simply investigate 'trendy' things that there may be money in - they're in it for the discovery. Besides that, climate science has been deeply unfashionable for many years as it was a thankless task trying to get funding for something that no-one outside of academic circles would acknowledge. We have known about global warming for at least 20 years - I recall reading about climate issues and what needs to be done in an old popular science book I had when I was young. Scientists have been arguing the case about this phenomenon for so long, and only now the evidence is sufficiently alarming and in peoples faces are the popular media and governmental bodies starting to pay any attention at all. Granted, the media are hyping it excessively - but that is the same with anything the media touches; many scientists are actually nervous about the media hype as it's usually factually inaccurate and desensitises people to a real issue which needs to be tackled.
    mjr600 wrote: »
    The jury is out on man made warming, sure the temperature has been warmer for the past few years but the earth is billions of years old and the sun is the major factor.

    I don't even know where to begin with this. The amount of evidence to suggest that we play a significant part in the warming trend we have seen over the last few decades is colossal. The only real debate in the scientific community is over the exact effects (climate prediction) and detailed specifics of the magnitude. The overall idea that climate change is going to be bad and that we are mainly to blame has been around for a long time and the only scientists refuting this are in the pockets of the oil companies and other 'interested parties'.

    "The sun is constantly heating the earth therefore it'll get warmer over time". Yes, very clever. :T Go back to GCSE Physics.
    We need heating and lighting, if the world is effected then I guess we will have to adapt to the changing world. It can't be stopped, it can barely be slowed down.

    That's like saying we should not bother locking up any more rapists or paedophiles because we can't stop them, there'll always be more of them out there and we should just adapt to a few more sex crimes around the place. It may be true that we are too late to 'save' our climate, but we have to try - it can be slowed down and if we do this then we will have longer to come up with some solutions.

    It's so short-sighted to say that it's inevitable and there's no point doing anything. Especially when we in the industrialised nations will be able to adapt easiest of all - we will just buy more air-con units (using more electricity which makes it worse), start growing pineapples instead of apples, and try to remember what snow looks like. The people who are getting hit the hardest by climate change are in the poorest nations of the world, people that are dependent on already unreliable water supplies and failing crops. And of course all of our children and grandchildren will have a really tough time of it if we don't do anything.
    If you must have the tree hugging menatality, you are better off spending the money buying yourself some plants/trees and putting them in your own garden since you know it's done and will be protected properly.

    Yes, very true - I would much rather people do this but many people don't even have a garden, let alone one that has space for a couple more plants & trees every time you take a flight somewhere. Local conservation/tree planting projects are definitely better than offsets though, you can see the results.
  • mjr600mjr600 Forumite
    760 Posts
    What a disappointing and somewhat rude post my a new MSE, I trust that such comments directed at individuals do not continue. Holding and publishing opinon is fine but barbed comments are not welcome.

    A sense of perspective is always important, watch the below for an alternative view.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4499562022478442170&q=global+warming+swindle&hl=en
  • edited 28 December 2010 at 5:36PM
    anorthositeanorthosite Forumite
    17 Posts
    edited 28 December 2010 at 5:36PM
    Please pay no attention to this documentary, its theories are discredited, its evidence highly selective and the whole thing is presented in a highly emotive fashion, discarding rational thought to appeal to people's emotions.

    It also tells a number of bare faced lies.
  • mjr600mjr600 Forumite
    760 Posts
    Not unlike many of the articles, shows and films supporting claims of man made global warming.

    Just who can you trust in this debate, hence the need for balanced, reasoned dabate not just blind belief.

    Having listended, read, watched, studied etc, my view falls with the climate atheists hence the view that dropping money into the pockets of offsetting companies is a waste of time.

    I will not however tell people to ignore pieces to media, just to question and form an opinion.

    You should look to the future of emerging technology and realise that the potential for energy sources with minimal enviromental impact is within our reach, at that time this debate will be a footnote in history and those of use who ignored offsetting will an an extra pound in our pocket.
  • GSGGSG Forumite
    4 Posts
    mjr600 wrote: »
    Not unlike many of the articles, shows and films supporting claims of man made global warming.

    Just who can you trust in this debate, hence the need for balanced, reasoned dabate not just blind belief.

    Well I trust science, and my eyes. Both say that this effect is real, and science says that it's mostly our fault. Of course blind belief is dangerous, you should always question issues, especially ones hyped by the media - as they will do absolutely anything to get a headline. That is not to say that all headlines are made up, far from it.
    mjr600 wrote: »
    I will not however tell people to ignore pieces to media, just to question and form an opinion.

    No-one should ignore the media - watch, listen and read all arguments for and against. Just make sure you get a balanced view of the whole story.
    mjr600 wrote: »
    You should look to the future of emerging technology and realise that the potential for energy sources with minimal environmental impact is within our reach, at that time this debate will be a footnote in history.

    It is true that technology will eventually solve our energy problems in a mostly renewable way, but at what price? Will we have any ice caps or forest left? How many people in undeveloped countries will have died from warming-related famine, disease, etc.? Immigration certainly is going to get far worse. Biofuels are touted as a big thing but they are an entirely flawed solution, completely unsuitable for a mass-market replacement of petrol as envisaged by the US government; we can't feed everyone in the world as it is without replacing food crops (and forests) with fuel crops.

    There's hardly a mad rush to green technology (just a lot of empty words and hype from corporations and government) and investment in renewables is pathetic compared to the amount of money spent on finding new oil fields. I was at a lecture on nuclear fusion technology recently, it has the potential to solve all our problems but will be 50 years away. With proper investment it would be 15-20. The problem is, renewables are the future, and most corporations and governments want to make as much money as possible now. That means minimal investment in new technology, blab on about biofuels and carbon credits (yes, another stop-gap) to make it look like they're 'on the bandwagon' and actually doing something, and maybe in the future when the oil prices get too high they'll devote more funds to the problem. Of course some companies are doing as much as they can, they're just the exception rather than the rule...and governments really should make 'going green' a hell of a lot easier.

    And that's just us...developing nations such as China and India are rampantly building new coal and oil power stations, they won't invest in renewables as it is too expensive. We need to set them an example and in doing so, bring down the cost of these new technologies. Change rarely comes about from a governmental level, it's a demand for cleaner power and a more environmentally conscious approach that will drive the development of green technology. It is in this way that I don't mind a bit of media hype - although some of the headlines are undoubtedly scare-mongering and scientifically dubious.
  • mjr600mjr600 Forumite
    760 Posts
    Why shouldn't developing countries use the resources hidden in the ground beneath their feet, why should they listen to the west dictate how it should be done.

    During the last 200yrs my family has risen from the fields, through the dark satanic mills, with improved education and health at every step to a current position of wealth, long life and comfort. All this on the back of the industrial revolution, burning coal and oil, why should we prevent the same happening in China, India etc.

    Do as I say not as I do springs to mind, but that takes us from the point, in my considered opinion offsetting carbon is a con, plant a tree yourself, look after your garden, make it grow, grow your own fruit and veg, it'll keep you fit and you can eat fresh beans that weren't flown from Africa.

    You'll have more money in your pocket and a more fulfilling life.
  • GSGGSG Forumite
    4 Posts
    mjr600 wrote: »
    Why shouldn't developing countries use the resources hidden in the ground beneath their feet, why should they listen to the west dictate how it should be done.

    During the last 200yrs my family has risen from the fields, through the dark satanic mills, with improved education and health at every step to a current position of wealth, long life and comfort. All this on the back of the industrial revolution, burning coal and oil, why should we prevent the same happening in China, India etc.

    dark satanic mills? I won't ask. Of course we can't stop developing countries from developing, and we shouldn't try to enforce on them our own methods of doing things... We should lead by example, help them to develop cleaner technologies and show that with the right investment and forward-thinking, development and high quality of life is possible without wrecking the natural habitat that we share with everyone (and everything) else on this planet. It's just a matter of being conscious of the affects that our actions have on those around us - our own industrial revolution was particularly inconsiderate, and now is the time to correct some of that. If we show the rest of the world that development in the 21st century can be sustained without destroying the environment then the world will definitely be a better place for us and our descendants.
    mjr600 wrote: »
    Do as I say not as I do springs to mind, but that takes us from the point, in my considered opinion offsetting carbon is a con, plant a tree yourself, look after your garden, make it grow, grow your own fruit and veg, it'll keep you fit and you can eat fresh beans that weren't flown from Africa.

    You'll have more money in your pocket and a more fulfilling life.

    I entirely agree, but not everyone has a garden, and we'll have to agree to disagree about the scamworthiness of offsetting. I believe offsetting carbon emissions, like biofuels, is a stop-gap, a foot in the door and is not to be relied upon but is at least 'doing something'. Which is better than nothing.

    Martin should go for a different offsetting organisation next time - maybe choose one based on how much they are actually doing for the environment rather than the cheapest. An organisation that sends out certificates and luggage tags for carbon offsetting seems to be missing the point entirely.
  • I worry that carbon offsetting makes it feel OK. I'm not saying it is a total waste of time but that it is a way of easing ones concience rather than making one think about whether the journey is necessary.

    "It's OK for me to jet off on long haul holidays as I carbon offset"
    rather than,
    "maybe I'll take some of my holiday closer to home, I'll still have a good time and it will help the environment"
    7 Angel Bears for LovingHands Autumn Challenge. 10 KYSTGYSES. 3 and 3/4 (ran out of wool) small blanket/large square, 2 premie blankets, 2 Angel Claire Bodywarmers
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