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Author Topic: Carbon Offsetting does it really do anything?  (Read 6868 times)
Flamethrower_
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« on: August 20, 2007, 07:25:46 PM »

 
Thiis is a subject that has been plaguing my mind for quite some time. Undecided
 
As my personal feeling is that it is a bigger con than anything else I could spend my money on to feel that I am doing my green bit!

How many people on this site have used carbon offsetting to ease the guilt of their carbon foot print ?

Is it being energy efficient?

I really would like to know others opinions................ Huh
 
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 07:29:09 PM by Flamethrower2 » Logged
goodnoisefella
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2007, 08:32:33 PM »

IMHO   'tis all b*ll*cks, I don't see how stuffing some crook's trouser pockets can offset anything.....He retires in luxury at 35...laughing.

Nice one for starting the thread, tho'....can't wait for the rants Grin

Cheers
Tim

BTW the sweary filter suggests 'squits' for b*ll*cks......why?
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KenB
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2007, 08:35:05 PM »

Here's my rant Tim

Carbon offsetting is a accounting device that will allow  "the market" to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions.  - total BS!

It gives the main polluters a warm fuzzy feeling that they are actually doing something worthwhile, whilst all they are doing is business as usual, and someone is making a profit on the back of it.

It acts as a media smokescreen, and takes attention away from the fact that UK PLC is totally ignoring the global warming threat, doing nothing to reduce our energy consumption or establish a base of renewable energy and to mask the fact that we are facing a very huge risk of an energy crisis within the next few years. - the sort that ought to bring governments down.

The European Carbon trading scheme has been a fiasco from start to finish, Europe is producing no fewer carbon dioxide emissions than it did  2 years ago - more in fact - since they started burning coal again in UK power stations when the gas price hiked.

It would be more appropriate for every household to positively reduce their own consumption than pay someone to pretend to plant trees in the third world, or distribute wood stoves to the starving, destitute in Darfur.

If every household could reduce their road fuel, heating and electricity consumption by 20%, by making reductions and better insulation, then it would make a lasting effect.

One good proposed scheme for the individual to make a contribution is described in TEQs   - Tradeable Energy Quotas. 

If you want to burn more than your fair share of fossil fuels, then you have to buy more credits.  It's not an energy tax, that would otherwise unfairly penalise the poor - See here for details of the scheme:

http://www.teqs.net/

IMHO carbon offsetting  - it's a business racket on par with the American sub-prime mortgage scam. 



Ken
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martin
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2007, 08:54:34 PM »

George Monbiot was succinct "it's pushing the food around the plate" Grin
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goodnoisefella
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2007, 09:26:35 PM »

Pushing food around the plate, yeah................. 'fiddling while Rome burns' springs to mind, too

Right with you Ken, the usual thing, the greedy preying on the gullible, but with the added twist of being approved by the Government.....Bah!

I do worry for my kids, but I despair for thier kids

Tim
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Ivan
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2007, 10:50:19 PM »

In theory it could work - offset money spent on planting new forests for example. However, I think mostly offset companies do things like purchase 100acres of forest. Sell it off tree by tree for carbon offsets. Lets face it, the trees are there whether they are sold for carbon offsets or  not.
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goodnoisefella
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2007, 11:08:34 PM »

Bullseye, Ivan....in theory  it's all so plausible....but the administration costs will eat up most of the dosh.....and the chairman will be driving a Bently. Roll Eyes

Tim
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NickW
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2007, 11:15:36 PM »

Last couple of times I have flown I offset. Did it with a certain degree of cynicism! Rather than opt for the usual tree planting schemes I went for wood stoves for the poor in Nicaragua on the basis that (in theory) there would be some sort of benefit for those less fortunate than I. Bit of a $hit if most of the money goes on admin Angry
« Last Edit: August 21, 2007, 10:57:06 AM by NickW » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2007, 04:37:23 AM »

I think its a rip-off.  The tree must survive forever........if it dies then rots, or gets burned it releases CO2 and you are back to square one.


-Paul
From the windy city (Chicago, 6 hours behind)
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lightfoot
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2007, 10:04:26 AM »

Hi Folks,

This may not be about carbon offsetting but it's in a similar vein.

I worked overseas as a volunteer with VSO for a couple of years on a rural water supply project.  The project was partly funded by the EC or the EEC as it was then.  They supplied funding for the materials, tools, the project truck and a small  boat.  The villagers done the graft and the local government provided a handful of fantastic trainees, fuel, a place to build a workshop and somewhere for me to stay   Cool

We had to survey each village project and meet with the villagers to assess the best way to provide clean drinking water.  The EC was very keen for us install PV solar pumped systems.  The water was pumped either from hand dug wells or spring catchment dams to large corrugated iron storage tanks and from there the water was fed by gravity to tap stands throughout the village  Smiley

At first this seemed like a great idea and after a couple setbacks we managed to install a few of these systems.  However it did not take long to realise that these high-tech systems were not necessarily the most appropriate technology for the job and I also remembered reading a book that stated that 80% of all pumped rural water supplies installed in developing countries were redundant within two years due to lack of maintenance  Cry

The area I was in had up to 2 metres of rainfall per year and the longer I stayed there the more it made sense to do basically what the locals were already doing and harvest this good clean ample supply of water.  So we installed a few simple self contained rainwater catchment systems, with each small family group having it's own tank.  This proved very successful, as not only was it much cheaper per capita, it was also a simple low-tech, low maintenance solution and everybody was happy  Grin

We had a visit from the new EC delegate, who was in country looking at the various EC funded projects and keen to stamp his mark.  I gave him the tour of our new workshop and a couple of nearby projects.  He asked why we wasn't using the solar pumped systems that they were so keen to promote.  I explained that in most cases it was better to use the simple rainwater catchment approach and we could also help more people with much less money and therefore help even more.  He got quite cross with me and insisted that we spent all the budget and promote the solar technology.  I will add at this point that all the equipment for the solar pumped systems was (had to be) sourced from EC member states, which were on the opposite side of the planet to the project Huh

So who were the real beneficiaries ?   I will let you come to your own conclusions, but I will add that, I will happily give my time freely to help others in need when I can, but I think twice about giving money indirectly, unless I know exactly where it's going  Undecided



Lightfoot.


PS, If your reading this Mr EC Delegate......I still think your a  *$*er.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2007, 12:38:46 PM by lightfoot » Logged

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goodnoisefella
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2007, 10:55:17 AM »

Oh Lightfoot, what a sad tale....but probably typical.

Inappropriate technology is worse than no technology at all.

Like the chap that made kid's roundabouts work the water pump, the kids played and the mums collected the water....everyone happy except his company, who were peeed off that he was doing his own thing.  They very quickly did a u-turn when he started getting publicity for what he was doing and they reilised that there was PR to be had from him.

Good for you for getting out there and doing what you can.  We should all be doing VSO.

Regards,
Tim
« Last Edit: August 21, 2007, 02:48:53 PM by Ivan » Logged

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KenB
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2007, 11:19:28 AM »

Lightfoot, Goodnoise,

Good posts.

I think we had a reputation of dictating to the developing countries what technology they should be using.  Angry

Regarding water pumping - I came across a the Practica foundation, of the Netherlands, who are supplying some more appropriate technology especially for drinking water and irrigation schemes.

http://www.practicafoundation.nl/index.html

The have produced a design for a tiny water pump run by a micro-diesel engine.  It will run on just about anything including vegetable oils - particularly Jatropha oil.

The engine was adapted from a Lohmann moped engine that was available in the 1950s.  Patent drawings are available for the original Lohmann engine.

They dispensed with the injector system and used a crankcase fuel induction system - like a model aero or chainsaw engine.  A variable compression cylinder heat allows it to burn paraffin, diesel, veg oil or any odd blend that might be available locally.

It produces about 450W and is intended to be a low cost irrigation pump for rural Indian small farmers who cannot afford the $500 for a full sized pump-set, but with a source of mechanical irrigation it frees them from the drudgery of treadle-pumping.

http://www.practicafoundation.nl/products/under-development/micro-diesel.html

Imagine one of these built into a portable inverter generator, running on waste veg oil, as a  200W back-up or battery charger for solar pv or wind generation.  It would make such a good alternative to those throwaway 900W petrol generators that sell for 39.99.



Ken



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lightfoot
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« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2007, 12:03:38 PM »

That looks like an interesting website Ken........brings back memories   Smiley Angry Shocked Cool

I must admit, I love playing with all this kind of technology and it's amazing the difference that simple ideas make to peoples lives, but it is important not to have a top down approach and to find out what the people really need and how you can help.  In fact after having spent a decade or so contemplating all the mistakes I made with VSO and also try to educate myself more in appropriate technology, I've been having the urge to do something similar again, not sure where, what or when, but I need to get my own house finished first and see what comes up.

I would recommend it to anybody that likes to get their hands dirty, it was the best education I have had in my life and I'm still learning from my experiences out there, both good and bad  Cool

Now back to the Carbon Offsetting......what a load of SUV driving, pin stripped suit wearing, money making B****cks.


Be the change, live lightly, give when you can, take as you need (not want) and make someone smile every day  Grin


Lightfoot.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2007, 01:22:42 PM by lightfoot » Logged

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Flamethrower_
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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2007, 02:53:54 PM »

To Everyone on the list,

I've been studying everybodies replies with great interest, it seems to be the main consensus that we all think its is as I said at the begining a BIG CON

or as other would say the biggest load of b*ll**ks  !!!! going .

Ken

I do like the idea  of Tradeable Energy Quotas (TEQs) and as time goes on something of this ilk with have to come into play.

Lightfoot

Its good to see your VSO 'University of Life' experience did'nt put you off treading the path lightly.

Keep it coming every body,

Rob
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Flamethrower_
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2007, 09:08:37 AM »


I see Sienna Miller on BBC Breakfast today thinks shes doing her bit saying that she is 'carbon offsetting', so she has been baffled by the B*llsh*t Grin
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