Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Carbon Offsetting May Fight Global Poverty

Carbon offsetting options are becoming more widespread, leading to increased efforts to reduce the use of carbon-based fuels and better public health practices in poor countries. Carbon offsets allow the use of carbon-emitting processes to increase funding and development for clean alternatives, which can later compete and potentially replace carbon-emitters.

Carbon offsetting can also be employed to combat global poverty. Because offsets are focused on reducing bad habits, resulting from people practicing those habits having either no alternative or no ability to find alternatives, people living in the poorest conditions can benefit from the clean energy revolution.

The group CarbonAided helps inform and provide guidance for implementing carbon offsets, and now seeks to use carbon offsetting for real-world benefits for poor communities in developing nations. Using carbon offsetting to break the cycle of bad carbon practice world-wide brings developing countries up to speed on emissions reductions as well as developed industrial countries.

An example from CarbonAided follows:

For example, by substituting a clean biogas cooker for an open wood fire, the air in the kitchen is transformed from an un-breathable smog which, according to the World Health Organisation is responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million women and children each year. Not only does this address the health MDG but since the women no longer have to spend hours gathering fuel wood from increasing distances they can become involved in income generating activities to reduce their poverty. Children released from fuel gathering are able to go to school. An improved energy supply also allows food to be cooked in a more healthy way thus reducing hunger. 4 MDGs are thus addressed by this type of project as well as the significant reduction in carbon and other GHG emissions.

-- Jaimie Hwang