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Steve Howard, CEO of The °Climate Group and Jonathon Porritt, Founder of Forum for the Future, in a letter published in The Independent on Friday July 20th 2007, set out perfectly why offsetting is key in reducing greenhouse gas emissions:
“Sir: As your front page S.O.S. (16 July) demonstrates, climate change is a real and pressing danger. Drastic cuts in carbon emissions are necessary to stabilise climate change, and carbon offsetting has a vital role to play in this. While the first step for any business or individual must be to cut emissions, offsetting allows those who are not obliged to take action to balance out their carbon emissions by helping to finance low-carbon technology projects around the world.
Without this valuable source of income, these projects would not be developed. The contribution they make is measured not only in direct reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, but in the social and economic benefits of reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
Furthermore, voluntary offsets go above and beyond existing government policy and international emissions targets, helping to drive international action until the politics catches up.
Standards are critical and the industry is rapidly addressing the issue. The °Climate Group’s work on the Voluntary Carbon Standard is one example of this, and a credible industry body is being formed to help maintain and develop stringent quality assurance in this sector.
Government regulation and appeals for people to change their behaviour will not be sufficient to achieve the carbon reductions needed at the speed required. That is why carbon offsetting is so key. It allows additional investment in carbon reductions over and above that which Government regulations have achieved, and makes those reductions wherever they can be made fastest and at the lowest cost.
JONATHON PORRITT, FOUNDER, FORUM FOR THE FUTURE
DR STEVE HOWARD CEO, THE CLIMATE GROUP