Carbon Offsetting Should Be Compulsory

GlacierPhoto: Matito

In recent years, carbon offsetting has become the trendy way for both individuals and large corporations to help mitigate their effect on the planet. By offsetting their carbon emissions with an equivalent amount of renewable energy or carbon credits, one can eliminate their contribution to global warming, and assist in the effort to return the planet to its natural state.

Unfortunately, while carbon neutrality is an admirable goal, it is still a voluntary practice. If carbon offsetting is deemed too unprofitable in the short term, many companies will not abide by it regardless of the long term ramifications to their business and the environment. In addition, with no strict regulations on carbon offsetting practices, there is no governing board to ensure these carbon emissions are actually being offset. Many companies simply claim they are going carbon neutral as a public relations tactic, knowing full well the government will not hold them accountable for their claims. In the long term, this type of honor system will not be sustainable. As companies continue to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, more and more glacial ice melts, which in turn releases more carbon that had been frozen into the ice. In order to protect future generations, we must make carbon offsetting more than trendy; we must make it compulsory.

A compulsory carbon offsetting law may sound a bit draconian, yet it is the only way to ensure the safety of our ecosystems, our crops, and our way of life. Furthermore, it will motivate businesses to seek new innovations and technologies in order to enhance their profit margins. Currently, there is little incentive to invest in going green when fossils fuels put shareholders so heavily in the black. Green companies also face difficulty staying in business when competing with cheap, carbon based energy. A compulsory carbon offsetting law will not only level the playing field for smaller, carbon neutral companies, it will protect big business from themselves.