For everyone who likes to fly on airplanes or drive cars but feels guilty about the carbon footprint, there is a lovely way to assuage your guilt without making any actual lifestyle changes: buying carbon credits. Many companies are selling such credits to consumers, with the vague promise of offsetting your carbon footprint. However, no one can actionably explain how paying to offset your carbon footprint actually counters the alleged extreme harm caused by everyday life.
Nevertheless, one of the first things on many of these businesses’ websites is asking for money, either through purchasing a carbon credit or a donation. In looking closely at the companies that sell carbon credits, it becomes clear they have found a clever way to profit off guilt over climate change.
One such company, Cool Effect, solicits $129.98 right off the bat when you click on their website, to offset a year’s worth of carbon usage. They offer various projects where your money can go, with different dollar amounts per tonne of carbon. These include building a bird sanctuary, planting trees, creating clean cookstoves in various countries by building a machine that turns natural expulsion of methane into energy (which they assure you is not fracking). All of these projects are worthwhile endeavors, but none reduce anyone’s carbon expulsion. read more