Offsetting Democracy
By Kevin Smith The concept underpinning the whole system of carbon trading and offsetting is that a ton of carbon here is exactly the same as a ton of carbon there. That is, if it's cheaper to reduce emissions in India than it is in the UK, then you can achieve the same climate benefit in a more cost-effective manner by making the reduction in India. But the seductive simplicity of this concept is based on collapsing a whole series of important considerations, such as land rights, North–South inequalities, local struggles, corporate power and colonial history, into the single question of cost-effectiveness. The mechanisms of emissions trading and offsetting represent a reductionist approach to climate change that negates complex variables in favour of cost-effectiveness. So when the Dutch FACE Foundation plants trees in Kibale National Park in Uganda to offset consumer flights, it ignores the fact that the land has been the site of violent evictions in the recent past and is still