Video: Carbon offsets

Since the environmental movement gained popularity, corporations have been finding ways to profit off of people’s reasonable desire to safeguard the ecosystems around us. These greenwashing tactics tend to be actively counterproductive. They encourage people to believe that the problem is being solved, often by the very people who are causing it. This absorption of movements for systemic change has been extremely effective in preventing that change from actually occurring, and the same has been true of climate action. Carbon offsets are a part of this. The idea makes sense in a vacuum. If you assume that society is making a good-faith effort to deal with climate change, there will still be some fossil fuel use for at least another few decades, and one way to reduce that harm is to actually work to capture carbon, to balance it out.

Works in theory, but unfortunately, everything is still run by capitalists, who have a powerful motivation to make sure nothing changes in any meaningful way. As always, John Oliver does an excellent job breaking down exactly why carbon offsets are a scam.


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