Jun 04, 2009

FoE campaigner calls for an end to offsetting

by Krista Stryker — last modified Jun 04, 2009 02:24 PM

Tom Picken, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland urges delegates at the UN climate talks in Bonn to abandon carbon offsetting and look for real long term solutions to combat climate change.

Tom PickenOn June 5, 2009, at the UN climate conference in Bonn, Germany, Tom Picken, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland delivered a speech on climate change. In the speech, he condemned the practice of offsetting carbon emissions for combating climate change and urged delegates to find a more effective solutions.


Here is an extract of the address he gave

What is the cost if you don’t achieve your task? Is it the escalating financial cost predicted?

Is it the 300,000 deaths every year, happening right now, directly the result of climate change - according to Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum?

Is it the political cost that Annex I governments will have to pay back home if they fail to set their own targets – with no-one else to point the finger at and blame?

Or, will the cost of failure be deception? Saying you will act, announcing targets, but then offset this commitment to developing countries that have disproportionately suffered the consequences of over-consumption and currently emit but a fraction of the per capita carbon of industrialised countries? 

It is possible to avoid these costs getting worse, but first, this group must finish its task.

The targets submitted by Parties before this meeting are totally unacceptable.

We have clear demands. We demand an aggregate Annex I reduction of more than 40% by 2020 on the table here in Bonn. This is a simple assessment of what science and equity demands, and of what the timetable work plan demands of you. 

New commitments however will only have meaning if they are actually achieved, not watered down. 

Offsetting has failed – it fails the climate and it fails the people of both developed and developing countries. 

Offsetting is used as an excuse for inaction in Annex I countries that carry on polluting business as usual. 

Offsetting does not ensure positive sustainable development in, or sufficient financial transfers to, even big developing countries. Offsetting is not the tool for achieving financial and technology flows. 

Offsetting cannot be reformed, it must not be expanded; offsetting must be scrapped once and for all. 

The ultimate objective of the Convention is to avoid dangerous climate change, not avoid responsibility. 

Real targets, achieved for real, now.


Tom Picken, campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales, Northern Ireland in Bonn