CARB’s raging debate about carbon offsets for the Amazon rainforest

by Julia Rosen, LA Times

Smoke is still rising from the Amazon as fires smolder in the world’s largest rainforest. The blazes triggered a wave of global outrage over the loss of precious trees. But California says it has a plan to keep tropical forests standing.

This week, state officials will consider a proposal to protect these forests by steering billions of dollars to countries such as Brazil. The money would fund government efforts to fight deforestation and promote sustainable industries that don’t involve chopping down and burning trees. And it would come from companies that offset their own emissions by purchasing carbon credits through markets such as California’s cap-and-trade program.

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Living with integrity: Fly? Offset? Avoid flying?

Woody’s recent blog on flying drew more views than any other piece of ours in years. This suggests that those who care about the climate but have places to go are wondering what to do.

Internally at The Climate Center, we talk frequently about flying and how to treat it with integrity. You may have noticed that we offer trips to Bhutan with carbon offsets. We advertise other trips abroad organized by an honored Business for Clean Energy member.

But we also exhort people to lighten their carbon footprints. As a transportation mode, flying is almost always the least climate-friendly way to go and the numbers are getting worse.

As long as flying is inexpensive and accessible, almost everyone who can afford it will continue to fly, even those who are hyper-aware of the climate consequences.

So what are we to do?

Those who travel can offset their carbon through an array of worthy options. The Center offers carbon offsets that allow you to minimize your impact by donating to us to help fund the work we are doing. Money from offsets and other support helps us advocate for a price on carbon.

Only when the cost of flying reflects its true cost to the planet will people pause before booking a flight.