Qantasistheway
Topic Author
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 12:30 pm

What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:35 pm

Hello All,

I've been looking at airline websites and I have noticed a growing trend in neutralising the carbon emissions that are expelled in flight. Now although I have some idea of how this is done, I am still a bit unsure.


Where does the money go?

Has this prooved succesful in raising awareness and are people using this feature?

Where did this start?

How is this calculated?

If any one has any answers to some of the above questions I would really appreciate it because this ties in with a large school project.

Thanks,
Oliver.
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13812
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:59 pm



Quoting Qantasistheway (Thread starter):
Where does the money go?

Usually to companies which are no more than scam artists, selling EXISTING trees as an "offset" against NEW pollution.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Caymanair
Posts: 433
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:53 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:35 pm

Basically when you choose to pay for the carbon offsetting option with an airline, they put your money towards planting trees or something of the sort to match the additional carbon emissions produced by your trip. I don't think its the exclusive domain of scam artists and I'm fairly certain Al Gore doesn't recieve commission.

One's carbon footprint can be calculated fairly accurately, although I couldn't tell you how. It's a popular option with many travellers, mostly because they feel good after doing it and it is very cheap. This website will probably do a better job of explaining:
http://www.carbonneutral.com/cncalculators/flightcalculatorca.asp

I used to attend a school where each student was expected to plant trees or do something else to offset their carbon footprint. The international students got the sharp end of the stick because we spent hae our lives in airplanes.
 
SPREE34
Posts: 1574
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:09 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:37 pm

It's a lie. It's a money moving scheme.
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
Caymanair
Posts: 433
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:53 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:49 pm

By the way... considering I had the sore back and blistered hands to proves that atleast some of the programmes actually do something positive, I think its safe to say its not all lies.
 
Bongodog1964
Posts: 3134
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:29 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:54 pm

Whilst I wouldn't be so cynical as to say that these carbon offset schemes don't plant the promised trees, if they count trees which in all likelihood were going to be planted anyway in vast coniferous plantations it is a scam. But as it makes a few mugs feel good about themselves its all right then.
 
nra-3b
Posts: 133
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2000 2:38 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:02 pm

IMO any of these carbon offsets or any other types of "environmental" taxes are nothing but scams. Having me or you pay money to "feel better" about the evironment does absolutely nothing to or for the environment. It just takes more money from the traveller and gives it to a government that will waste it on something useless..

Cheers,
Bob
 
simairlinenet
Posts: 721
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 2:24 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:54 pm



Quoting Caymanair (Reply 5):
By the way... considering I had the sore back and blistered hands to proves that atleast some of the programmes actually do something positive, I think its safe to say its not all lies.

Thank you for that post--here's me doing my part: http://msp.imirus.com/Mpowered/imiru...pp.jsp?volume=2008&issue=4&page=17
 
ConcordeBoy
Posts: 16852
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 8:04 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:57 pm



Quoting Qantasistheway (Thread starter):
What Is Carbon Offsetting?

...a scam, which uses public "guilt" as a means of extortion.

Rather brilliantly executed, I must admit-- makes the companies look like they actually care about/enjoy doing this crap, lest the hellfires of selectively targeted negative publicity be upon them.
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
MCIGuy
Posts: 1445
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 8:15 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:58 pm

When confronted with his energy consumption, Al Gore said he just buys more "carbon credits". So, the rich get to use up natural resources at a faster rate because they're rich? Nice...
Airliners.net Moderator Team
 
MSYPI7185
Posts: 133
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:45 pm

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:04 am

It is an elaborate scheme to separate you from your money! The BA website was mentioning that this money goes to the UN for some environmental nonsense. Woudl be funny as hell if the UN would give it to Branson at VS, for his biofuel plans.

MD
 
petteri
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 10:22 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:47 am

While Carbon Offsetting (at least as discussed in this context) is a good idea it's effects are marginal at best. Real Carbon Offsetting would be included in the price of the ticket and would not be a marginal cost. A rating of the various progras can be found here:

http://www.tufts.edu/tie/carbonoffsets/ratings.htm

Some of the conclusions reached are:

Quote:
There is much validity to the argument that offsetting simply helps us assuage our guilt, whilst we continue to fail to change out lifestyles towards patterns that are more truly sustainable. Avoiding having to fly to far-away places is still the most effective way to reduce one’s personal air travel emissions

and

Quote:
On the other hand, carbon offsetting can genuinely reduce emissions. Even more importantly, it can help provide funds now to kick start the development of low carbon technologies, which will be vital in the more fundamental transition to low carbon societies.

The above comments are my personal comments and in no way should be viewed as the views,policy or statements of JetBlue
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13812
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:13 am

People are confused about whether all of it is a scam or just the vast majority. The money does ultimately go toward doing some sort of good environmentally, but the claims are overblown and the result is really a lot of middle men getting wealthy and/or gaining more power.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
flydreamliner
Posts: 1928
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:05 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:54 am



Quoting Qantasistheway (Thread starter):

Where does the money go?

Has this prooved succesful in raising awareness and are people using this feature?

Where did this start?

How is this calculated?

The money is donated to organizations, typically to plant trees or to purchase reserves of forests to protect them from destruction.

The calculations used do definitely vary, typically however it is how much money is needed to plant / preserve enough bio-carrying capacity to offset the flight within a year's time, but again, this varies tremendously. It's too new to have been standardized.

I know people here in Minnesota, USA who work in this field, a lot of them do very good work. Sure, in every business there is someone who is crooked, that doesn't mean they all are.

Quoting Caymanair (Reply 5):
By the way... considering I had the sore back and blistered hands to proves that atleast some of the programmes actually do something positive, I think its safe to say its not all lies.

Good for you. It's good that there are people like you out there, and I wish there were more like you, and fewer cynics....

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 4):
It's a lie. It's a money moving scheme.



Quoting 474218 (Reply 2):
Is a way for Al Gore to make lots of money.



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 1):
Usually to companies which are no more than scam artists

"Let the world change you, and you can change the world"
 
aviateur
Posts: 562
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:25 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:28 am

More info here...


Airlines & the environment, part 2. Onboard trash, and how airlines are tackling emissions http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/2008/02/29/askthepilot266/
Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13812
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:41 am



Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 14):
typically to plant trees or to purchase reserves of forests to protect them from destruction.

Right, which is a scam, because you are not offsetting your NEW production of fossil fuels by preserving and EXISTING forest, which is what a lot of these companies in the USA do.

Not to mention that studies have shown that grasses are much better carbon sinks than forests, so planting trees where there were no trees does nothing except cost money and make people feel good. And create forests (which is not so bad, since I like trees).

And it all gives some people blisters, it seems…
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
spacecadet
Posts: 2830
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:49 am

It's neither a lie nor a scam. Nor is it just "planting trees" or "saving forests". There are a whole range of options for carbon offsetting. Does nobody bother even reading wikipedia or googling before spouting off these days? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_offset

Clean energy projects are the most common carbon offset options.

I have no idea what the airlines are doing, but it would surprise me greatly if they're just planting trees. Almost nobody does that for carbon offsetting.

[Edited 2008-11-17 18:49:47]
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
flydreamliner
Posts: 1928
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:05 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:55 am



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 16):
Right, which is a scam, because you are not offsetting your NEW production of fossil fuels by preserving and EXISTING forest, which is what a lot of these companies in the USA do.

In many instances, preserving lands that are tremendously effective at carbon conversion and sequestration is far more effective than attempting to grow something new. If the land is to be cleared and you spend money to preserve it, it's carrying capacity that otherwise wouldn't have been there. No scam.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 16):
Not to mention that studies have shown that grasses are much better carbon sinks than forests, so planting trees where there were no trees does nothing except cost money and make people feel good. And create forests (which is not so bad, since I like trees).

Grasses are effective only in short-term carbon sequestration. Also, you need to compare a forest ecosystems carbon benefits to grassland ecosystem, not just plant to plant. Also, it depends on the forest, the location, climate, et cetera... there are a reason there are people who become experts in this, there is a lot to it.

As for clean energy projects, that's part of it too. A good number of projects however are purely ecological in nature. I do love wind farms though... anyone who hasn't seen how beautiful they are is missing out.
"Let the world change you, and you can change the world"
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13812
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:08 am



Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 18):
there are a reason there are people who become experts in this, there is a lot to it.

Of course there is.

But there is also a sucker born every minute, and whenever a new "fad" comes to the fore, there are "experts" who line up to take your money.

The diet industry, for example, is full of scientists and experts who line up to take money from people based on promises and science, and yet people get fatter and fatter.

The Carbon Offset industry is a blanket term that allows scammers to gain credibility as they are lumped in with people and companies doing real good.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
chase
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:02 pm

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:22 am



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 16):
typically to plant trees or to purchase reserves of forests to protect them from destruction.

Right, which is a scam, because you are not offsetting your NEW production of fossil fuels by preserving and EXISTING forest, which is what a lot of these companies in the USA do.

I suppose that depends on whether or not you assume that the forest would be chopped down if it weren't preserved. If one does make that assumption (which may or may not be correct) then taking action to plant a tree, and taking action to save a tree from being chopped down, both result in there being one more tree tomorrow than there would have been had the action not been taken.
 
ConcordeBoy
Posts: 16852
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 8:04 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:19 pm



Quoting Chase (Reply 20):
both result in there being one more tree tomorrow than there would have been had the action not been taken.

Yes, but that's carbon maintenance, not carbon offsetting... there's no net gain, just continued numerical neutrality (i.e., loss prevention).

Still a bullshit scam though  Wink
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
MSYPI7185
Posts: 133
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:45 pm

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:55 pm

To make this interesting.. Trees are the largest producer of pollution. They only absorb CO2 during the day, at night the reverse happens. Conifers - trees in the pine/spruce- family are the largest polluters. How do you think the Smoky Mountains got that name.

I have an idea. Every time an airplane takes off, all the liberals and those worried about this should hold their breath. That way since they are not exhaling, they can offset jet exhaust.

What really makes this a scam is, burning Hydrocarbons produces CO - Carbonmonoxide, which is the primary pollutant of concern. Run a gas engine in an enclosed area, you will get sick or die from CO not CO2, Heater in your home not working properly, CO is the problem not CO2. It is just until recently that CO2 is now a threat. Our simple basic existance is now a horrible thing! If you breathe Oxygen to survive, you will certainly exhale CO2. It is called incrementalism, what is next a tax on a bag of beans, to offset flatulence. PETA should be encouraging the eating of meat, esp. beef, if this is true.

People better wake up before we are taxed into oblivion, over something we have no control over. Some of our friends in the EU are finally starting to wake up to this fact. Follow the money, follow the money.

Sorry for the rant, but this is just getting nuts!

Md
 
ACDC8
Posts: 7270
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:56 pm

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:48 am



Quoting Qantasistheway (Thread starter):
What Is Carbon Offsetting?

A quick way to get rid of any excess money you have and make you feel all warm and fuzzy because you think you're doing something responsible for the environment.

Quoting Qantasistheway (Thread starter):
Where does the money go?

Who knows where the money really goes, I sure as hell don't.

Quoting Qantasistheway (Thread starter):
Has this prooved succesful in raising awareness and are people using this feature?

Probably. A sucker is born every minute.

Quoting Qantasistheway (Thread starter):
Where did this start?

A smart business man or woman (better be politically correct here  Wink )


Honestly, if you really want to do something for the environment. Do something yourself and don't just give money to some obscure company or organization and assume they'll do what they claim with it. We have lots of programs here where you can help plant trees yourself, and it doesn't cost a dime. Use recycable cloth grocery bags, don't use the drive-thru at McDonalds. Walk to work, etc. All much better option IMHO if you feel you need to do something good for the environment.
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
PPVRA
Posts: 7878
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 7:48 am

RE: What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:06 am

Send $5 or whatever the airline's calculator says to your local plant-a-tree group and avoid the whole legitimacy mess.

Better yet, plant a tree yourself. Plant a fruit tree and you'll even make something out of it.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat

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