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Image of Carbon Offsets, Good or Bad for the Environment

Carbon Offsets, Good or Bad for the Environment

Carbon offsets are a practical and effective way to address climate change and encourage the growth of renewable energy

Carbon offsetting gives a company license to pollute the environment. If a company buys carbon offsets, they can pollute the environment without worrying about it

The debate as to Carbon Offsets has been studied and debated to death, what is the rational answer, and in fact, is there one?


Carbon offsetting is a license to keep polluting, and distracts us all from the real work of cutting emissions. It is where companies and governments try to meet their carbon reduction targets while still emitting carbon. 

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you run a coal-fired power station. The coal you burn and the CO2 you emit goes into the atmosphere and heats our world. That is incontrovertible. But offsetting then encourages you to point at a forest and say, “I’m paying for those trees not to be burned so now we’re even.” Of course, this does nothing whatsoever to change the fact that the CO2 from your coal plant is now warming the atmosphere — it just lets you show a balance on paper. Most of the time when you pay for carbon offsetting, the work is done by planting more and more trees. Now, these trees might absorb the carbon from the atmosphere, but they also harm the environment in several ways. Firstly, planting trees isn’t an easy job, and usually, the projects need a lot of trees at once. Therefore, they use fertilizers and other such enhancers which pollute the environment. Such fertilizers are also harmful to animals, and when they are drained into water reservoirs, marine animals are affected as well. Trees emit carbon when they are burned.

On top of the damage it enables, offsetting also distracts us from needed climate action. It gives the false impression that there’s a way out of the crisis without every government and business cutting their own emissions which leads to delaying or dampening ambition to do the real work. It’s a bookkeeping trick intended to obscure climate wrecking-emissions. It’s tree planting window dressing aimed at distracting from ecosystem destruction.


Carbon offsetting is buying carbon credits and investing money in projects that work for the reduction and neutralization of carbon from the atmosphere. When you pay to purchase carbon offsets, you are paying to neutralize the amount of carbon that you have emitted. You have to learn how much carbon you emit before you can buy a carbon offset so that you can reduce the exact amount from the atmosphere. Now, let’s know some more about carbon offsetting When you have emitted one ton of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, you have to buy one carbon offset for it. As tons of carbon increases, the number of carbon offsets required increases as well. Therefore, it is necessary to measure the exact amount of carbon or else it would be of no use even if you spend money. Without further due, let’s dive into the benefits of carbon offsetting!

Carbon offsets are a guarantee that your work will be done. It is because if you do it by yourself, you might not be able to reach a specific goal. For example, you will have to do a lot of research before planting trees that are enough to absorb the amount of carbon that you have emitted. All these things require a lot of time. Therefore, busy people always find this option more accessible and convenient. (”corporations are people”).

The above is obviously an over simplification of the subject with volumes available on either side of the debate but it illustrates how ideology may often obscure reality.

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