Taking Carbon Offsets Way Too Far

By January 29, 2008Global Warming

williston.jpgSomewhere in Williston, N.D., there’s a person who sold a few too many carbon offsets. The locals are definitely not happy that they get stuck compensating for everyone else’s C02 profligacy.

No? Offsets don’t work that way? They don’t work at all?

Well, a debate worth having, a little accountability worth seeking. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) raised the issue of $89,000 of House offsets today at a Heritage Foundation lunch, but we note he’s brought the question of efficacy before. Earlier this month, Barton and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) asked the GAO for a “thorough inquiry” into the carbon offset market, on which companies spend some $300 million annually.

“The generic concern is that you or I or anybody could start selling carbon offsets,” Shimkus’s spokesman Steven Tomaszewski said in an interview. “There’s no accountability. There’s no regulation, so it’s a matter of how are these offsets being certified.”

To the extent carbon offsets are a stalking horse for an economy-killing cap-and-trade system, accountability is the least the public should demand.

UPDATE (9:35 p.m.) Brian Faughnan looks at the issue at The Weekly Standard’s blog. And we note that Divide Williams County, N.D. — county seat, Williston — is a stronghold of the North Dakota Farmers Union, which accounted for some of the House’s offsets. Brrr…it’s cold up there.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Steve says:

    Actually, there are a number of very credible certifications for carbon offsets backed by strong organizations such as Environmental Defense, Conservation International, the UN, The Nature Conservancy and others. Purchasers of carbon offsets should check to make sure their provider is selling certified offsets, so that they know they are real, and who says so. But the contention that there is no accountability is patently false.
    The offsets that were purchased by the US House were certified CCX offsets. The CCX is a legally binding market with accountability, quantification, measurement and certification,is partially owned by Goldman Sachs and includes among its members companies such as Ford, Motorola, Honeywell, Eastman Kodak, Amtrak, American Electric Power and others. It strains credulity that companies like these have not done their homework and are falling for some sort of two-bit scam.

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