Carbon Consciousness

Earth Deeds innovative online tools enable groups and individuals to understand and then transform their carbon footprints through supporting sustainability projects. Rather than Climate Neutrality, we promote Carbon Consciousness.

What’s the difference?  Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) companies such as TerraPass, NativeEnergy, and Climate Trust, sell carbon credits to “offset” (i.e. reduce, avoid, or sequester) greenhouse gas emissions from individuals and organizations.  Since 2005, over 100 VCM companies have transacted over $3B of carbon offsets to support renewable energy, reforestation and other projects, especially in developing countries.  Despite its success, however, the VCM exhibits a number of critical challenges:

  • It is inherently inefficient due to verification costs, overhead, and profit-taking. A BBC report estimated as little as 30% of funds make it to actual projects.
  • While standards and measures of accountability have improved, there have continued to be persistent concerns around “additionality” and “leakage.”
  • In order to achieve an economy of scale, the VCM is intrinsically constrained to supporting large, mitigating projects often at a great distance from offset consumers.
  • ·  Offsetting’s focus is narrowly limited to CO2 emissions rather than systemic causes (e.g. economic and political systems that do not account for their environmental impacts) and responses (e.g. education, preservation of biodiversity, climate justice work, adaptation).
  • Offsetting is often unfavorably equated with 16th century “indulgences”, where sinners were able to pay the church to absolve them of their sins and, effectively buy a clean conscience while delaying meaningful action.
  • There is a lack of trust in the market.  A December, 2012 survey found only 35% of respondents trusted claims of “carbon neutrality.” Over 50% of consumers believe carbon offsetting doesn’t produce real reductions and 70% believe offsetting companies are not transparent in their dealings.

Simply by dropping the controversial concepts of “offsetting” and “carbon neutrality”, Earth Deeds is able to:

  • Avoid verification costs and transfer at least 85% funds to Projects.
  • Support small, local, even non-mitigating projects that have meaning to Teams.
  • Offer a positive story of being grateful for the Earth’s gifts - notably fossil fuels – and “paying it forward” by helping create resilient communities.
  • Provide tools for Projects to reach out to groups they’re associated with and that might like to become Carbon Conscious and support them.

We absolutely need to recognize and account for our ecological impacts.  Earth Deeds believes the best way to do this is by working together to understand our carbon footprints and support meaningful sustainability projects.  We are moving beyond the idea we can ‘”neutralize’” our impacts at a distance and are creating new mechanisms to efficiently channel money to small, local projects and helping individuals and communities transition towards a more sustainable and Carbon Conscious world.

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