Carbon offsetting your CO2 emissions is popular because it's easy. Well, not as easy as not doing anything at all, but a lot easier than, say, converting your entire production plant to run off of hydrogen and methane from food waste. Plus, it's good publicity. Just click on the "Carbon Offset" category link again, and you'll see what I mean.
But is carbon trading a good idea? Kevin Smith, a researcher with Carbon Trade Watch, emphatically says "No" in this BBC column. While making a lot of good points – strong government regulation on CO2 issues is needed, emissions have to be reduced across the board – Smith quotes Tom Burke, visiting professor at Imperial College London, who said that using cost-benefit analysis on climate change is "junk economics," and Smith calls loopholes in the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme "obscene." Smith is right. Like ethanol, carbon trading should be a bridge, something we can do now while we figure out what to do tomorrow. Smith's criticism of carbon trading is well placed, but not doing anything would be truly obscene.
[Source: BBC / Kevin Smith]