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Page added on April 29, 2007

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Carbon-Neutral Is Hip, but Is It Green?

“The worst of the carbon-offset programs resemble the Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences back before the Reformation,” said Denis Hayes, the president of the Bullitt Foundation, an environmental grant-making group. “Instead of reducing their carbon footprints, people take private jets and stretch limos, and then think they can buy an indulgence to forgive their sins.”


“This whole game is badly in need of a modern Martin Luther,” Mr. Hayes added.
Some environmental campaigners defend this marketplace as a legitimate, if imperfect, way to support an environmental ethic and political movement, even if the numbers don’t all add up.


“We can’t stop global warming with voluntary offsets, but they offer an option for individuals looking for a way to contribute to the solution in addition to reducing their own emissions and urging their elected representatives to support good policy,” said Daniel A. Lashof, the science director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council.


But he and others agree that more oversight is needed. Voluntary standards and codes of conduct are evolving in Europe and the United States to ensure that a ton of carbon dioxide purchased is actually a ton of carbon dioxide avoided.

NYT story, through Climate Ark



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