21 Feb 2007

Rising Tide occupy Carbon neutral company

Today we have occupied – and with any luck shut down - the head office of the Carbon Neutral Company (CNC) here in King’s Cross. CNC is one of many businesses which sell ‘carbon offsets’ to people and companies that want to cancel out their contribution to climate chaos (also known as ‘global warming’). CNC claims that it will neutralise the carbon dioxide (CO2) given off by, say, Silverjet (a private jet airline), and that it will do this by paying people in developing countries to cut their own emissions with schemes that involve renewable energy or tree planting. So what’s the problem?

P R E S S R E L E A S E

LONDON RISING TIDE OCCUPY HEAD OFFICE OF CARBON NEUTRAL COMPANY IN LONDON

London Rising Tide has occupied the head office of the Carbon Neutral Company (formerly Future Forests) on the day they had been invited to appear before the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change, that is chaired by the Carbon Neutral Company.

This is what they have to say:

CARBON ‘OFFSET’ = CLIMATE UPSET

Today we have occupied – and with any luck shut down - the head office of the Carbon Neutral Company (CNC) here in King’s Cross. CNC is one of many businesses which sell ‘carbon offsets’ to people and companies that want to cancel out their contribution to climate chaos (also known as ‘global warming’). CNC claims that it will neutralise the carbon dioxide (CO2) given off by, say, Silverjet (a private jet airline), and that it will do this by paying people in developing countries to cut their own emissions with schemes that involve renewable energy or tree planting. So what’s the problem?

Carbon offsetting: an excuse for no action?

Climate chaos is an issue of justice: it is hurting the world’s poorest (and least-polluting) people first and hardest, causing massive disasters and threatening millions of species worldwide. Many people are now questioning whether offsetting allows some of us in the richer, developed world to carry on with our massively polluting lifestyles, instead of lowering our own emissions. Those who are buying offsets are often doing so with the best of intentions, but the fact remains that it’s a smokescreen that has to stop.

If we compare the planet to a running bath, full almost to the brim with CO2, to offset CO2 emissions is like saying “I won’t turn off my tap. I’ll pay someone else £10 to pay someone else £2 to turn off their own tap.” (Guess who pockets the change?) The reality is that we need to turn off both, if we’re to have a chance of cutting CO2 emissions by 50% before 2016 (which is the single most important task facing you and me, right here, right now in 2007.)

Not only is tree planting a discredited failure when it comes to soaking up carbon, many other offset schemes are looking pretty shabby when looked at in detail by independent third parties.

Yesterday, Carbon Trade Watch released a report called “The Carbon Neutral Myth – Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins” that gave a lot of evidence and information as to why offsetting is ineffective, injust and damaging to the climate change debate. (http://www.carbontradewatch.org/pubs/carbon_neutral_myth.pdf)

Who are we?

Our group is called London Rising Tide (LRT), and we are part of a wider national and international movement that believes passionately in taking direct action for ‘climate justice’. We reckon it’s well past time for us to get creative, to get movement-building, to drown out the rising tide of corporate ‘greenwash’ (ie. profit-driven lies), to get food growing with neighbours and friends, and to get seriously disobedient, (but to do it with a good bit of humour).

A while ago, we were asked by the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change to make a submission about planned Climate Bill. The Committee is administrated by the Carbon Neutral Company. After thinking long and hard about it, this was our response:

‘We're declining the invitation to address the meeting, since we believe in the creation of mass movements striving for systemic social and ecological change. Engaging with the committee would be a distraction from that, as it's not in the interests of either Parliament or private companies to call for - or work for - such change. Also, we are deeply sceptical about the apparent privatisation of the committee process, especially when the company concerned is profiting handsomely from the sale to the public of the phony solution that is the carbon offset.’

To speak to people currently taking part in the action, call 07933 319 609
To speak to someone for comment or more information, call 07989 130846

London Rising Tide, c/o 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
E: london@risingtide.org.uk; T: 07708 794665
W: londonrisingtide.org.uk, artnotoil.org.uk, shelloiledwildlife.org.uk
See also The Camp for Climate Action: climatecamp.org.uk, & cheatneutral.com

6 comments:

Ru said...

Trees absorb CO2 dont you know?

tim said...

Thanks for posting this Derek. Check this site out:
http://www.sinkswatch.org/

John said...

Thank goodness soemone has exposed carbon offsetting for the nonsense it is. It's like the medieval church selling indulgences to get people into heaven.

Dan said...

There are many corrupt or ineffective offsetting schemes, but there are also many worthwhile ones.

It's typical of the left that the LRT should target the CarbonNeutral Company, who are also trying to reduce carbon emissions.

Terry farrell said...

Yes- Companies who offer 'carbon neutrality' are a bad joke - Silve jet for instance. But people who genuinely want to put something back, and not simply take- need to be encouraged. Remember, we are so far behind where we need to be in limiting carbon emissions, we can't afford to exclude any valid carbon absorbtion scheme. It's going to have to hit humans hard before they REALLY change their behaviour.

Chez said...

Thank God some people are informed about this.
I am constantly getting emails from www.carbonfund.org and it's driving me insane. I finally emailed them and asked them how they justify taking money from people for this scam "for the environment" and all I got was links to other carbon-neutral sites.

What a load of crap.