The way we’re going to actually solve problems like the UK’s addiction to carbon-intensive infrastructure isn’t through a series of customers paying companies to ‘offset’ their emissions in some scammy scheme. It’s through mass government action.
In the face of these pressures there remains a dogged belief amongst many in the farming community that the purpose of agriculture is to produce food. A growing number of consumers are keen to buy high quality local food, produced through sound husbandry (as agroecology used to be called).
On some level, people want to believe in carbon offsetting because it offers to rekindle capitalism’s promise that we can enjoy consumerism without being too concerned about ecological crisis, by delivering a seductive story of power and status in which somebody else cleans up the mess.
Yes, confronting the climate crisis will require a switch from ‘dirty’ to ‘clean’ power. But it also demands a radical reconfiguration of environmental power dynamics.
Learning to live without the myth that we can keep sailing forever may be daunting, but it’s the only way to keep from drowning. In the end, it may not be so bad to live in a world that is more than the sum of its parts.
You would have thought the time for obfuscation is over. But there’s a new game in town for those who still think there’s time left for business as usual. It’s called ‘net zero by 2050’ and its prevalence shows how many of those with power and influence still don’t really ‘get’ climate change.