Why doesn't Friends of the Earth recommend carbon offsetting?

If you're flying, driving or generating CO2 emissions you can now pay into a carbon offsetting scheme. These schemes claim to reduce or avoid the release of CO2 somewhere else.

Why isn't it a good thing?

  • No 'magic bullet' - we can't buy our way out of climate change.
  • Smoke-screen - it could ward off legislation and delay vital action. It can also encourage polluting activites.
  • Inequality and fraud - offset projects can be imposed on poorer nations. The credibility of many offset schemes is uncertain.

Science says...

We need to reduce emissions substantially and fast. And help poorer countries develop low carbon technologies. If we delay action it will be harder to cut emissions later.

What should we do instead?

Reduce your emissions as much as possible - our Living site offers some top tips.

Offsetting schemes do have a small role to play but should be a last resort. If you do offset choose a Gold Standard project (PDF - 72K).