UK Offset Standard is Off Target
A new government "kitemark" suggests that most carbon offset schemes are flawed, but fails to address the more fundamental problem of paying others to clean up after us By Kevin Smith Offset companies across the UK were petulantly stamping their carbon footprints recently following environment minister Hilary Benn's announcement of a new "kitemark" scheme for the sector. Voluntary offsets promise consumers the chance to pay extra to assuage their guilt when they fly or engage in other carbon-intensive activities. But they have been heavily criticised for making bogus claims about emissions reductions, and for funding projects that adversely impact upon communities in the global South. In a move designed to weed out the carbon cowboys, Benn's proposal is that only offset providers using the Kyoto Protocol's "clean development mechanism" (CDM) will qualify for the government's seal of approval. This currently excludes all but a handful of offset companies in the UK. Most of the