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Carbon Offsets

OPB | Oct. 20, 2009 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:03 p.m.

A new Greenpeace study is causing tension among some environmental groups. Carbon Scam (pdf) brings into question carbon offset programs, like the one being used by PacifiCorp, American Electric Power, and BP America to offset some of their carbon production by saving Bolivia’s rain forests. Greenpeace took an in-depth look at this project — the Noel Kempff Climate Action Project (NKCAP) — and determined that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Greenpeace’s senior forest campaigner, Rolf Skar, says:

Global warming is just too important to gamble with. I’m not ready to trust that something that has not yet shown to be reliable will be so in the future.

Meanwhile the Nature Conservancy, who is a broker for the NKCAP program, disagrees. They stand by their belief that forest protection must be a part of the solution in the fight against climate change, arguing:

The Noel Kempff project also serves as an example of how well-designed forest carbon projects can result in real, scientifically measurable and verifiable emissions reductions with important benefits for biodiversity and local communities.

Have you chosen to purchase carbon offsets? Why? For what? Does it matter to you if those offsets are close to home — a forest in the Cascades, for example — or in a Bolivian rain forest? Would you turn your own land into a carbon offset forest? Have you read the Greenpeace report? What questions does it raise?

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