Andrew Gilder (ENS)
I was asked this question by email by a colleague: '…whether at a deep moral level carbon offsetting is flawed as a concept (“I don’t feel like making my bed but I’ll pay you to make yours and one other”). Can we really pay for someone else to do it while retaining that sense of being responsible or is it like parents who give their kids lots of money and drop at a mall for a Saturday rather than parent them?'
This question was based on the Papal Encyclical that was recently issued.
(AI = Annex 1 (developed countries) and NAI = Non-Annex I (developing countries):
'Simple carbon offsetting without the attendant co-benefits would be morally flawed. However, one needs to recall (and this gets lost in the noise around offsetting) that:
(Also, have a look at the articles on the Ecosystem Marketplace listed above).
It is instructive to note the level of FDI that has been unlocked by the CDM. Also note that criticism of the CDM tends to be directed at abuses linked to individual projects – this criticism is correct but cannot be extrapolated to maligning the system, as a whole, particular when one takes the whole system into account, including FDI flows and local sustainability requirements. That would be a bit like saying that the whole system established by the SA Constitution needs to be called into question because there are allegations of fraud and abuse of the system by individuals (people municipalities, government departments) within the system.'
Any comments to the Pope’s Declaration are welcomed.