Greenwashing the conscience
The Beeb has an interesting article today “Carbon offset schemes not working, says holiday firm” that confirms something I’ve mentioned before and discussed with my colleagues at work – buying carbon offsets is really an attempt to assuage ones lifestyle guilt.
Money raised under the schemes is used to pay for carbon reduction projects in developing countries, such as installing solar power or capturing methane gas released by farm animals.
Some environmentalists argue that while these schemes bring some benefit, offsetting has not changed people’s behaviour enough and emissions covered by such schemes should be avoided in the first place.
Justin Francis, founder of Responsible Travel, said: “It’s perceived as this magic pill, this get out of jail free card if you like, that means you don’t need to change your behaviour.
“You can go on flying just as much as you were before, you can run your hotel the way you were before, but through this magic pill somehow you can assuage your guilt.
“We need to be reducing the amount we pollute and I think carbon offsetting is a distraction from that.”
The same thing is happening in my business, commercial data centers. Data centers with lousy power effectiveness ratings and/or get their energy from massive polluting sources like coal, think they can call themselves green simply by buying carbon offsets. It does nothing to solve the problem of using fossil fuels in the first place. In fact, it encourages the continued and expanded use of those polluting sources. All they are doing is green washing their conscience and hoodwinking a gullible and concerned public.