Understanding Travelers Philanthropy

Eyes Wide Open: Carbon Off-Sets & EcoTravel

What is a carbon offset? Carbon offsets -sometimes called carbon credits help curtail greenhouse gases by putting a monetary value on reductions of greenhouse gases. The offsets represent emissions reduced via green projects such as new wind farms, solar installations or simply controlling fossil fuel pollution. The offset is sold through companies that act as brokers or traders. Individuals and businesses can buy the offsets to help reduce their “carbon footprint.”

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Transnational Institute
The Carbon Neutral Myth: Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins

Carbon offsets are the modern day indulgences, sold to an increasingly carbon conscious public to absolve their climate sins. Scratch the surface, however, and a disturbing picture emerges, where creative accountancy and elaborate shell games cover up the impossibility of verifying genuine climate change benefits, and where communities in the South often have little choice as offset projects are inflicted on them.

This report argues that offsets place disproportionate emphasis on individual lifestyles and carbon footprints, distracting attention from the wider, systemic changes and collective political action that needs to be taken to tackle climate change. Promoting more effective and empowering approaches involves moving away from the marketing gimmicks, celebrity endorsements, technological quick fixes, and the North/South exploitation that the carbon offsets industry embodies.”

1 Corrupting the Climate Change Debate
2 The Rise and Fall of Future Forests
3 The problems with trees and light bulbs
4 Three Case Studies in the Majority World
5 India – “Rock Band Capitalist Tool For Cutting CO2”
6 Land rights in Uganda
7 Energy efficient light bulbs in South Africa
8 Celebrities and Climate Change
9 Positive responses to climate change

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Killing the African dream of development

Author and economist James Shikwati says in the programme that environmentalists campaign against Africa using its fossil fuels: “there’s somebody keen to kill the African dream. And the African dream is to develop.” He describes renewable power as “luxurious experimentation” that might work for rich countries but will never work for Africa: “I don’t see how a solar panel is going to power a steel industry … We are being told, ‘Don’t touch your resources. Don’t touch your oil. Don’t touch your coal. That is suicide.'”
An example is given in the film of a Kenyan health clinic which is powered by solar panels which do not provide enough electricity for both the medical refrigerator and the lights at the same time. The programme describes the idea of restricting the world’s poorest people to alternative energy sources as “the most morally repugnant aspect of the Global Warming campaign.”

The Guardian
“Some firms are making a killing from schemes designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions schemes designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions while doing little or nothing in return.

The market in carbon offsets, which allows companies to invest in renewable energy as a way of mitigating their own greenhouse gas emissions – almost doubled in 2006 to $5 billion, the World Bank said on 2 May. According to a recent report in the London-based Financial Times, some of that money is going to oil companies that are simply pumping CO2 into oilfields to extract more oil. They would have done this anyway, so profits from selling the credits go straight into company coffers, with no benefit to new carbon-saving schemes. “Oil companies are earning credits by doing what they would have done anyway”

And under the Kyoto protocol, almost $5 billion will be paid to industries that cut emissions of trifluoromethane – a potent greenhouse gas created in the production of refrigerants. The technology required to cut the gases would cost just $100 million to install (Nature, vol 445, p 595), raising questions regarding the size of the payout.”

Dag Hammarskjold Foundation
Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatization and Power

“The main cause of global warming is rapidly increasing carbon dioxide emissions – primarily the result of burning fossil fuels – despite international agreements to reduce such emissions. The trouble is that despite being aware of the serious situation, very few decision – makers are ready to tackle the problem at its roots. Instead of reducing the extraction of fossil fuels and searching for other solutions, current carbon-trading policies, in practice, favor the further exploitation of these fuels. Furthermore, new tree plantations, which are claimed as a means of mitigating the consequences of increased carbon dioxide pollution, often drive people out of their traditional living grounds and destroy biological diversity.

This special report forms part of the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation’s What Next project. It focuses on carbon trading and is intended to influence current climate politics. In the debate on the Kyoto Protocol few actors have expressed a critical view. It is high time, for the purposes of debate and policy-making, to put the spotlight on the core problem – fossil fuel extraction and consumption.

This publication, therefore, takes a broad look at several dimensions of carbon trading. It analyzes the problems arising from the emerging global carbon market pertaining to the environment, social justice and human rights, and investigates climate mitigation alternatives. It provides a short history of carbon trading and discusses a number of ‘lessons unlearned’. Nine case studies from different parts of the world provide examples of the outcomes – on the ground – of various carbon ‘off set’ schemes.”

Download the PDF

The Guardian
Francis Sullivan, a carbon offset expert who led attempts by banking group HSBC to neutralise its emissions, said: “There will be individuals and companies out there who think they’re doing the right thing but they’re not. I am sure that people are buying offsets in this unregulated market that are not credible. I am sure there are people buying nothing more than hot air.”

Carbon emissions trading, essentially a privatization of the Earth’s atmosphere, is now enshrined under the Kyoto Protocol. It allows the “right [of multinational corporations] to pollute,” while turning a blind eye to the thousands of communities and ecosystems destroyed by exploitation of fossil fuels.

The Global Warming Swindle -BBC

We are open to suggestions toward making the Exquisite Safaris experience environmentally sound and we will utilize new methods, technology and eco-friendly accommodations as they become available.

Learn More:
Eco-Travel: Cart before the Horse?
Google: Carbon Offsets

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