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One of the first companies in the United States to offer travelers the option of buying so-called carbon offsets to counter the planet-damaging emissions caused by their airline flights has canceled its program.
The New York Times recently reported on the ousting of the carbon-offset program.
Responsible Travel said buying offsets might make travelers feel warm and fuzzy, but the offsets are in no way reducing global emissions. In fact, they might just be causing people to consume more energy and cause more emissions.
Reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal talked with Responsible Travel’s managing director.
“The carbon offset has become this magic pill, a kind of get-out-of-jail free card,” Justin Francis said. “It’s seductive to the consumer who says, ‘It’s $4 and I’m carbon-neutral, so I can fly all I want.’”
Francis says the offsets are keeping people from making smarter decisions like conserving energy or flying less.
Typically, money generated from carbon offsets is used to fund tree-planting projects in Africa or hydropower plants in places like Brazil. However, it’s proven difficult to track the projects’ success.
Top users of offsets, Yahoo and U.S. House of Representatives, ended their use of the offsets and chose to instead put the money into making their buildings more energy-efficient.
You can save your money, too. For tips on making your home energy efficient, check out the
OERB’s conservation page
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