The Carbon Offset Problem

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Writing by Sam Denby and Tristan Purdy
Editing by Alexander Williard
Animation led by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster


  1. Slightly misleading to suggest that ‘theoretically some systems might work’ – many systems are currently implemented that are successful despite the few systems some countries in which they are not working (and i would note that these systems are not working due to improper implementation, and not a problem with the systems themselves). Also interestingly these are the countries that are relying more on coal and non-renewable energies than others due to either rapid development (developing countries like india, as all developing countries generally rely on non-renewables), and USA which is still a wide user of non-renewables (which as far as i understand is due to it being cheap and worth a lot of mony for USA despite its obvious negative effects on the world).

    Other than that brilliant video which is extremely well researched – I would just suggest however that despite wanting to make a catchy title and follow a narrative, you include some information on currently successful and unsuccessful projects to show that it really isn’t as hopeless as you present it.

  2. Of course, “the market” here means “capitalism”. It’s easy to forget that “the market” isn’t some nebulous thing that magically exists by itself that nobody can do anything about – but rather a conscious ideological choice for capitalism, for a (belief) system that prioritizes and encourages profits above everything else, where wealth inequality is used _intentionally_ to rank some people above others. Other options exist, but you do need to actually make that choice.

  3. MissFoxification

    It can work, but the metric needs to be variable and linked to the estimated TOTAL carbon absorption. It needs an “interest rate” that varies based on events such as bushfires or floods. As the carbon sink changes, the rate needs to as well.
    Over time the availability of the credits to decrease and ergo the costs of polluting increase. It needs to be monitored very closely for carbon generation scams, they may even need to be reviewed for ethics.

    This is a very complex situation but as I said, it can work. We’re in a situation where we’re over-polluting (not that any is good) and we need to reduce it. Giving permission to pollute via a credit system is a means to an end, credits will eventually become extremely expensive and using them will cause an increase in product costs and therefore a decrease in market competitiveness.

  4. Carbon credit system itself is just a huge scam and a massive money transfer scheme

  5. they gerrymandered forests… wow.

  6. the fundamental problem is prediction. You should only be able to generate snd sell carbon credits after they’re realized and measured by an independent analyst.

  7. Better to just actually tax these corporations with high emissions and create a special fund using that money dedicated to just climate change related projects. The example of Koppal, Karnataka is a reminder of the fact that most of India is incredibly poor and would live in starvation conditions if it weren’t for the various governments rationing out free/subsidised food, a reality that people living in middle class urban India do not even acknowledge.

  8. The climate alarmists spew more B.S. than open vents in the ocean floor, worldwide, spew METHANE.
    Yup… methane vents, courtesy of Mother Nature.
    In the last few decades, these vents are being accidentally discovered all over the worlds oceans by biologists, geologists, oceanographers, petrochemical & communication companies, etc., who are engaging in research, exploration, construction, drilling & infrastructure activity.
    As of 2018, nearly a thousand methane vents had been documented off the Pacific N.W. coast on the continental shelf.
    On the east coast- as of 2012, approximately 570 methane seeps had been discovered just in the area between Cape Hatteras and Georges Bank.
    In recent years, a team from the University of Washington actually went looking for methane vents. They located 349 plumes of methane gas, bubbling up from the sea floor… in PUGET SOUND, ALONE.
    Sure. Human activity contributes to the formation of greenhouse gasses. I’m not denying that fact. But to constantly be blaming it all on mankind and trying to guilt everyone into feeling all warm & fuzzy about paying increased taxes because it’s ALL OUR FAULT is just plain evil & manipulative.

  9. András Fogarasi

    Here’s how you solve the problem:
    Instead of giving people carbon credits for owning a forest and doing nothing, count it towards their cap if they do do something. The baseline should be doing nothing. Not continuing to do what you’ve been doing. That would only make sense if Person A prevented Person B from doing something where Person B is not under the jurisdiction of Person A’s government, as in that case, Person A did dirty work for the government and the government could reasonably reward them for it. However, this would likely create questions around what kinds of foreign intervention should result in carbon credits. We probably all agree that however overrated, the improved cookstoves probably did actually decrease carbon emissions and the private actor providing the cookstoves could reasonably be awarded credits. We probably all similarly agree that a private actor committing genocide in Bretagne would greatly reduce carbon emissions in the long term, but that this does not in fact deserve to be rewarded by that actor’s government.

  10. Gert van den Berg

    I was wondering about your (cookstove) offsets for Jet Lag at the start of the video….

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