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Carbon Offsetting, Carbon Neutral and Carbon Negative

are all common terms - but what do they mean. Below we explain in simple terms the meaning of Carbon Offsetting, Carbon Neutral and Carbon Negative:

Carbon Offsetting is the process of reducing Carbon in one place to offset the Carbon emissions created somewhere else. How the offsetting is achieved is critical to whether it will really have an impact or just be a theoretical gain or worse - no benefit.

Carbon Neutral is offsetting enough Carbon to neutralise the amount of Carbon pollution that you/your family/your business are responsible for. This is the current fashionable stance for most people/ business's, and whilst it is a good start it sadly will not solve our planets issues. Why not ... let us consider a simple parallel - if you and your neighbour both have a water leak that is flooding your houses, it would be pointless to just fix your own water leak (water neutral) as your house will still flood from your neighbour. If your neighbour cannot fix the water leak then you will have to do it to stop your house flooding. The same is true with Carbon as you will need to address your own pollution and that of others that cannot. The developing world will dramatically increase its Carbon pollution as it industrialises and grows and whilst Governments talk about action the reality is that the developing world has many more important issues to address such as starvation, disease, water supply, infant mortality etc. The developed world is c1 billion people and the developing world is c5.7 billion. We consider the current focus on becoming Carbon Neutral as a solution will soon be seen as wholly inadequate. If the entire developed world became Carbon Neutral then you still have c5.7 billion people who still adding an increasing amount of carbon to our planet. Accordingly we see the only solution is for the developed world to become Carbon Negative to offset the Carbon for our whole planet.

Carbon Negative is a phrase used to describe any activity that removes more carbon CO2 from the atmosphere than you are responsible for creating. We will all need to ultimately become Carbon Negative if we are to reverse the continuing increases in CO2. The developed world will have to become Carbon Negative to counter the carbon increases from the developing world. This is not an expensive activity as even taking the most ethical of approaches it can be done for only:

UK £0.04 per Kg of Carbon
EU €0.05 per Kg of Carbon
USA $0.06 per Kg of Carbon - a Kg is 2.2lbs


Whilst we can do much to reduce our own Carbon footprint we can never reduce it to zero or make it negative unless we do something that takes carbon from our atmosphere. The majority of people in the developed world can do little or nothing to reduce their carbon/ CO2 footprint and with the emissions of the developing World rapidly increasing the overall CO2 poisoning of the planet is set to accelerate.

Whilst it is currently popular to proclaim to be Carbon Neutral and many corporations are climbing on the band wagon, being Neutral will not have a great impact. In reality if half the developed world became Carbon Neutral we would still be in trouble as it would still be wiped out by the other half and the growing emissions from the developing world would still give us an overall increase in CO2.

The only solution is that we must become Carbon Negative.