Difference between revisions of "Carbon offset"

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A '''carbon offset''' is a practice held to reduce the "polluting" effects of [[carbon dioxide]] emissions, with the supposed aim of reducing [[global warming]].
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'''Carbon offseting''' is the practice of purchasing or building [[carbon sink]]s which match or exceed an individual or corporation's [[carbon dioxide]] emmissions. Carbon offset activities could include buying stocks in a "green" [[power]] company, using solar power, and the like. The goal is to keep an individual or corporation's net carbon emissions at zero, in order to stave off the theoretical [[global warming|warming]] due to the [[greenhouse effect]].
  
Since carbon dioxide is not actually a pollutant, carbon offsetting has no beneficial effect on the environment. Its only actual use is to make politicians and activists like [[Al Gore]] look good.  
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Critics point out that, while carbon dioxide has the largest volume of controllable contributions to theorized atmospheric warming, it has the lowest effect on a per molecule basis of any of the [[greenhouse gas]]es.
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It is important to note that, while planting [[tree]]s is percieved to be a "green" activity, a simple balance over the life and death of the tree will show that this activity does not actually decrease carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. While carbon is consumed by the tree during growth, the exact same amount of carbon is produced during decomposition. The net carbon gain, therefore, is zero over the entire lifecycle of the tree.
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Some politicians and activists, particularly environmental activists such as [[Al Gore]] use carbon offsetting as a status symbol within their community.
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
*[[Carbon sequestration]] - the removal of [[carbon dioxide]] from the [[atmosphere]]
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*[[Carbon sequestration]] - the act of preventing [[carbon dioxide]] from a process to mix with the [[atmosphere]]
  
 
[[category:climate change]]
 
[[category:climate change]]
[[category:deceit]]
 

Revision as of 04:27, 14 September 2007

Carbon offseting is the practice of purchasing or building carbon sinks which match or exceed an individual or corporation's carbon dioxide emmissions. Carbon offset activities could include buying stocks in a "green" power company, using solar power, and the like. The goal is to keep an individual or corporation's net carbon emissions at zero, in order to stave off the theoretical warming due to the greenhouse effect.

Critics point out that, while carbon dioxide has the largest volume of controllable contributions to theorized atmospheric warming, it has the lowest effect on a per molecule basis of any of the greenhouse gases.

It is important to note that, while planting trees is percieved to be a "green" activity, a simple balance over the life and death of the tree will show that this activity does not actually decrease carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. While carbon is consumed by the tree during growth, the exact same amount of carbon is produced during decomposition. The net carbon gain, therefore, is zero over the entire lifecycle of the tree.

Some politicians and activists, particularly environmental activists such as Al Gore use carbon offsetting as a status symbol within their community.

See also