Carbon offsets for lifetime

Intended for constructive conversations. Exhibits of polarizing tribalism will be deleted.
slsdly
Posts: 262
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:04 am

Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by slsdly » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:45 am

From previous threads I know there is a range of opinions on carbon offsets. From my own reading, it seems like skepticism regarding the effectiveness of carbon credits for trees is also shared by (at least some) organizations advocating for the purchase of credits in general. This is because of a number of issues, the most salient are that it does nothing to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and that there are longevity concerns (the trees could just be harvested, die off after planting, owner never had any intention of cutting them down in the first place, etc).

However it seems to me that many of the projects are not about trees. Just to give some quick examples from supposedly reputable Canadian organizations:

https://planetair.ca/en/v2/comprendre.sn#projets
https://www.less.ca/en-ca/projects.cfm

For $24-$32/tonne (+ HST???), it actually seems affordable to offset my entire life's worth of emissions thus far. At least speaking as an overpaid tech worker. Say you are 35 years old, and you outputted an average of 15 tonnes per year (the Canadian average according to https://www.carbonfootprint.com), this works out to about $12600-16800 (+ HST???). Obviously I think the number should be lower for me given I'm younger, never owned a car, never cared for travel, and rarely buy things besides food, even before ERE -- I'm probably below the average of 15.

Would you consider working slightly longer to buy offsets for your up to date emissions, and to buy annual offsets going forward? It does seem like a meaningless gesture, but at the same time, I find I can reduce pretty much all of my actions to that train of thought :P.

(Clearly if this is an important issue to you, reducing your carbon footprint is the preferred course of action. But I can't erase the past, and have difficulty going to absolute zero.)

User avatar
7Wannabe5
Posts: 4518
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:42 pm

Rough way to hack it out would be around 1.5 trees per $1/day spending. So, if you live on 2 Jacobs = approximately $40/day, then you need to plant 60 trees and maintain stewardship over that woodlot until you plant your own self there. More expensive if acreage is zoned Commercial in Seattle than if it is unzoned in Guatemala.

Vacant lots in my neck of the woods go for around $5000/acre. Pretty easy to get 60 trees for less than $300. So, maybe $6000 X .03 = $180/year plus manual maintenance labor to grow your own oxygen/offset your carbon.

slsdly
Posts: 262
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:04 am

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by slsdly » Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:46 pm

After some thought on this, I do like the idea of planting some trees. I should add that to my list of things to do, I found some local organizations I could potentially volunteer with some day. I'm not sure I want to own a wood lot that I don't live on right now :P. However, I think I've settled on buying credits going forward. At least to offset my current lifestyle plus a little more. Once I'm cash flow positive without a job, I'll start setting aside funds to buy out the past. No doubt I will report back once I make it :D.

thegreatvoid
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 1:49 am
Location: Liechtenstein

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by thegreatvoid » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:17 pm

:D
Last edited by thegreatvoid on Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

slsdly
Posts: 262
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:04 am

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by slsdly » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:26 pm

I can't say I listen much to celebrities or watched (or heard of) any of their documentaries.

fell-like-rain
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:19 pm

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by fell-like-rain » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:10 pm

thegreatvoid wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:17 pm
Like watching a male feminist, or one of those white people talking about white priviledge.
So, you mean it's like watching someone who has been contributing to a problem and is now taking steps to try and end that problem? Because that sounds totally accurate to me.

thegreatvoid
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 1:49 am
Location: Liechtenstein

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by thegreatvoid » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:40 am

:D
Last edited by thegreatvoid on Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thegreatvoid
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 1:49 am
Location: Liechtenstein

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by thegreatvoid » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:46 am

:shock:
Last edited by thegreatvoid on Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

suomalainen
Posts: 627
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by suomalainen » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:00 am

Wow did that take an angry and random turn. From asking a question about offsetting your own carbon usage to...whatever that was. I am a white male and while I support women and minorities who feel aggrieved by societal constructs/attitudes, I don't feel any hatred towards myself. How exactly does trying to understand someone else's viewpoint make me...whatever it is you think it makes me? A libtard? Not a real man? A pussy? Is that what's going on here?

In any event, I've always been somewhat suspect of buying carbon offsets. Does it really offset anything? or does it only benefit the buyer by washing away one's guilt? Even planting trees - sure trees take carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks and limbs, but trees eventually die and one way or another the carbon gets released back into the atmosphere, unless what - you cut them and sink them in the bottom of the ocean where they can't rot so you can plant another tree in its place?

thegreatvoid
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 1:49 am
Location: Liechtenstein

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by thegreatvoid » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:14 pm

peace :D
Last edited by thegreatvoid on Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

suomalainen
Posts: 627
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by suomalainen » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:59 pm

@tgv Well, you're not doing your argument any favors by using charged language as "arguments". Consider for example:
thegreatvoid wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:40 am
I doubt a man who rallies for feminism , or a Caucasian who hates himself because of his skin color , have ever contributed to any problem .
thegreatvoid wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:46 am
You want to hold a Russian imigrant responsible for slavery in the US, although most Russians were actually slaves until 1900 .
Just because you didn't directly own slaves or haven't directly shouted epithets at women or minorities doesn't mean you aren't "contributing to any problem". What if you subtly prefer an underqualified white male to a more-qualified black male or a more-qualified woman when you're in a position to make a hiring decision? What if you're a manager and you pay a white male more than a woman or a minority for the exact same position and productivity? Is that not contributing to the problem? Do those more-qualified and/or underpaid individuals not have an understandable complaint?
thegreatvoid wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:40 am
Can 't hold a collective responsible, just because some individual with the same skin color or sex , has committed a crime or wrong doing .
thegreatvoid wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:46 am
Or should a Nigerian , living in the US get reparations, although his ancestors were never slaves and perhaps even sold slaves .
Just because some activists talk about reparations doesn't mean that every person that talks about societal issues holds the same view of the problem let alone the same view of any proposed solution. Or are we all just "snowflakes"?

The problem with your comments isn't the substance - it's the tone. You're not angling for reasoned argument. You're just name calling and straw-manning, and that's childish/immature. A mature person can understand that another person can hold a different viewpoint without thinking that such understanding equates to agreeing with that other person. Understanding and empathizing isn't weak, which seems to be how angry white males view it.

User avatar
7Wannabe5
Posts: 4518
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:25 pm

suomalainen wrote:Even planting trees - sure trees take carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks and limbs, but trees eventually die and one way or another the carbon gets released back into the atmosphere, unless what - you cut them and sink them in the bottom of the ocean where they can't rot so you can plant another tree in its place?
What's the point of bailing out the boat if you just dump the water back into the sea?

thegreatvoid
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 1:49 am
Location: Liechtenstein

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by thegreatvoid » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:52 pm

lets save the world. yey :lol:
Last edited by thegreatvoid on Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chenda
Posts: 1020
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by chenda » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:20 pm

I assume a mature forest holds a roughly fixed amount of CO2 over the long term, and as trees age and die new growth picks up the slack.

User avatar
7Wannabe5
Posts: 4518
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:26 pm

@chenda:

Right. The point of carbon offsets is to plant trees on land that is currently not forested. Best case scenario, in a poly-culture form that also provides alternate yields for humans and/or wildlife.

suomalainen
Posts: 627
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by suomalainen » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:28 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:25 pm
What's the point of bailing out the boat if you just dump the water back into the sea?
That's not quite right, is it? What's the point of bailing out the front of the boat (the atmosphere today) if you just dump the water into the back of the boat (the atmosphere in 50 years)?

And it's not like trying to turn grassland into forests won't have some ecological impact also. Or if you want to look at it as re-forestation - if you re-forested every acre that man has de-forested, how much carbon mass is that? Enough? And where do you put all the people in that scenario?

User avatar
7Wannabe5
Posts: 4518
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:50 pm

@suomalainen:

The atmosphere is never a static situation. The reason why it makes sense to attempt to bail out a boat is that, in theory, you can bail water at a faster rate than it is coming back in. There is not enough land on which to plant enough trees to bail as fast as fossil fuels are currently being burned, but, at least, it is a straightforwardly positive measure any individual could choose to take, and it obviously could help slow the rate of accumulation in the atmosphere.

If an individual chose to reduce his level of spending to 1 Jacob and planted/maintained 1000 trees in lifetime, that individual's behavior would be approximately carbon neutral.
And where do you put all the people in that scenario?
Yes, that is the kicker. Territorial imperative would apply. But, for instance, it is also likely true that if every high tech worker retired tomorrow other people would starve. That's how capitalism works.

chenda
Posts: 1020
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by chenda » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:17 pm

It seems afforestation is not yet high enough to prevent a net loss of global forest cover, especially for tropical forests which are a much bigger carbon store than temperate or boreal forests. Rich countries tend to have a good record in recent afforestation, especially China, though import ever more timber and tropical foodstuffs....

Though increasing global forest cover seems very worthwhile and much more doable than ending streaming or package holidays.

suomalainen
Posts: 627
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by suomalainen » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:28 pm

Meh. Maybe it's more like bailing the Atlantic into the Pacific one bucketful at a time. This seems like a classic public good / collective action problem. I haven't been persuaded that temporary and naturally reversible* carbon storage is any solution at all. But, you know, if it at least assuages your guilt or helps you feel like you're making a difference, go for it.

*The problem seems to be the recent addition of 100 million year-old carbon that hasn't seen the light of day in eons. Just recycling it through the natural carbon cycle of c. 30-100 years or even 1000 years for giant redwoods or whatever does nothing to permanently remove it from the atmosphere in such a way as to effect concentrations. The only way to do that is to lock it away OUT of the carbon cycle, so bottom of the ocean, the way it's been done before. Or you can try the reforestation bit, but then we're no better off than any other debate of the solutions (do nothing / adapt later with pain vs do something with pain now). It's pain all the way down. Which shit sandwich do you want, I think @jp said once in a different context.

User avatar
7Wannabe5
Posts: 4518
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Carbon offsets for lifetime

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:08 am

The situation is more complex than that:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/grr ... on-dioxide

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/tw ... ir-future/

Also, bear in mind that truly mind-boggling things are being done with genetic engineering these-a-days. Actually not inconceivable that a tree that is even much more inefficient at processing CO2 could be developed and planted. Halting fossil fuel emissions does nothing to mop up the VERY long term mess, but sequestering the carbon in the form of wood would. The problem with technological fixes is the cost of infrastructure/re-tooling. Biological fixes could be much cheaper, although also perhaps much more likely to run out of control, to put in place.

Image

Post Reply