Why Carbon offsetting shouldn’t be used as an excuse

why theres no greenwashing in what we do diagram

There was a Panorama documentary on the BBC this week about air flight and it really got us thinking even more about how most businesses seem to choose profit over the planet in so many cases. It’s evident that a lot of companies are capitalising on climate change without actually putting their money where their mouth is!

In the programme, it was uncovered that British Airways (as an example) emits around 18,000 tonnes of additional carbon dioxide each year by indulging in a practice designed to save money. For operational gains and to save time, it is common practice across the airline industry to carry additional fuel on some flights.

British Airways is one airline. They all have their part to play.

For those who did not see the episode, there was then an interview with the Owner/CEO of Ryan Air. In their fleet, they now give customers the option to ‘carbon offset’ their journeys by paying a donation in-flight.

This really baffled us.

In our view, there is nothing wrong with doing something positive, but carbon offsetting should be done regardless. We should be finding lots of ways to help reduce toxic gases in our atmosphere but not using ‘offsetting’ as an excuse or hiding behind these to continue polluting our planet.

What is Carbon Offsetting?

A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. Offsets are measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e).

Most of us have taken flights in our lives and hopefully we can continue to in the future. Flying is important for many reasons, no one is condemning any individual however, things need to rapidly change as we cannot continue as we are


An example of carbon offsetting is tree planting.

In the documentary, the Irish CEO, then led on to say that the money donated from his customers helps fund tree planting which is then marketed as neutralising air flight.

This sounded great, but unfortunately, it was revealed that his plantation was so small, that it wouldn’t make enough of a difference to offset the impact of one short haul flight. Friends of the Earth have previously referred to examples of carbon offsetting as a ‘dangerous distraction’

We tend to agree. Planting trees is fantastic! However, it doesn’t take away the fact that it takes approximately a minimum of 10 years to grow a fast growing tree! That’s if we planted what we need globally right this second!

If we’re going to reduce the impact of climate change, we need to do more than plant trees. We need to stop emitting greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and all play our part in reducing our consumption of the things that harm our planet. It isn’t just flying either. It also includes finding alternatives to things which cause deforestation, harm animals and our ecosystem.

This is only our view, we would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. What are your thoughts on the matter?

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