It used to be so easy, just a few months ago it seemed that planting trees would be enough to offset my carbon footprint and, at the same time, help prevent soil errosion and other enviornmental problems in degraded environments.
Not any more, Hope called my attention to this post on Grist that talks about a recent study showing mixed results of tree planting in battling global warming. While trees do absorb Carbon, they also absorb heat from the sun. As you approach the poles, it seems that trees might do more harm than good. And especially as the polar sea ice melts. Darker surfaces (green trees, and dark ocean waters) will absorb more of the suns rays compoundning the global warming problem.
The BBC just ran a story on the World Service radio program that discussed just this dilemma (though I cannot find the link).
So I guess that this year, instead of buying more trees, I’ll buy some carbon offset credits.
UPDATE: Those who know me know I am a man of action, and integrity, I just decided to get myself a Terra Pass both for flight (40k pounds for $149) and driving. Since I use car sharing, rentals, or borrow various cars when I drive mostly, I just got the Cross Towner (for $39) which offsets about 8k pounds of C02, about 12k miles.
The way I calculated my flight pass was a little imprecise, I said 8 Seattle to NY round trips, a few Seattle to San Franciscos, a Seattle to Palm Beach, and a Seattle to New Orleans. If figure at the end of the year, I’ll work out all my travel and make up the difference. These offsets are added to last years purchase of 1000 Trees which are supposed to remove 50k pounds of C02 a year for 40 Years.
Learn more Terra Pass.