Carbon offsetting, and how planting trees is not the answer

Carbon offsetting, and how planting trees is not the answer

Violet Maze looks into carbon offsetting, the latest trend where we are being told to plant trees believing you can carry on a life of frequent flying as the trees will absorb the carbon we create.

Words and photos by Violet Maze, March 2021

We are driving personal cars everywhere and want to be able to continue with a conspicuous consumption lifestyle, like clothes, household goods and gadgets that we don’t really need arriving weekly, sometimes daily, in these Covid lockdown times. All this is causing global warming and irreversible climate breakdown.

I see huge corporations are getting ready to greenwash, they want to plant thousands and thousands of trees on land to ‘carbon offset’ so they can carry on polluting saying this is the answer…no need to change our ways.

Will they make land grabs in poor countries in the Global South?

People need to be told the truth, carbon offsetting is the wrong solution to ecological collapse and climate breakdown.

“Oh! we have no funding to buy trees in the park, let people give us the money to plant trees to rid them of guilt for their carbon heavy selfish lifestyles.”

Trees take many years to grow and we don’t have the luxury of time to spare anymore.

What we really need to do is keep fossil fuels in the ground and reduce our carbon heavy lifestyles. Free or affordable public transport would be a great start!! We also need to repair, reuse and recycle. We live in a ridiculously wasteful society. 2/3rds of purchased fresh food from supermarkets is thrown away. We don’t need all the plastic packaging for our food either.

Councils and governments are allowing roads through nature reserves, building more new roads, expanding roads into dual carriageways, planning to expand airports thus losing green space and/or housing, unnecessary train lines through ancient forests and established natural areas of biodiversity. Property developers want to build unsustainable housing next to rivers by moving toxic landfill sites, there are plenty more plans like these for our future.

We urgently need to lobby our Councillors and Central Government to stop these schemes. Many Councils are declaring Climate Emergencies yet their behaviour suggests otherwise.

This is a matter of urgency and there is no more time to waste. We need to act now.

Further Reading

Why Carbon Credits For Forest Preservation May Be Worse Than Nothing

Why Carbon Credits and Offsets Will Not Work

Carbon offset gold rush is distracting us from climate change

Carbon offsetting flights. A dangerous distraction

Friends of the Earth | Does carbon offsetting work?

Shell Environmental Products

Greenpeace UK | The biggest problem with carbon offsetting is that it doesn’t really work

1 Comment


  1. Just this morning on radio 4 there was a report on an estate in Scotland where the owner has cut down the last of the trees. For years he has been returning the area to bogland where the moses etc absorb and hold co2 (hope i’ve got that right). So the piece was/is in harmony with your article.

    Reply

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