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Carbon offset ablaze

05 Jul 2023 | News Roundup

When the jet-setting elite justify their carbon-spewing hypocrisy it is usually by pointing to their purchases of carbon offsets, i.e. side-deals in which somebody somewhere plants trees that suck CO2 out of the air. Alas for such schemes the trees grow in forests, including here in Canada, and now, Bloomberg laments, “Canada’s Explosive Wildfires Have Damaged a Forest Carbon Offset Project/ The unusually early and intense wildfire season is impacting a popular but controversial tool used to fight climate change: carbon offsets.” Seems the scheme is going up in smoke. But don’t expect anyone to ask for a refund.

The story starts in lurid fashion:

“Canada’s explosive wildfire season has already pumped millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Some of that carbon is coming from vegetation burned at a carbon offset project, highlighting the fragility of a tool the world is relying on to fight catastrophic climate change.”

Explosive. Catastrophic. Like talk of “wrecking the planet” it’s no longer enough just to say something is bad or might be. We need disaster and we need it now. Which they just might be getting, though unfortunately in their policies not the world. The story explains that:

“Companies and countries are increasingly relying on carbon offsets to reach their emissions targets, a tool used in an attempt to compensate for their climate pollution by investing in projects that reduce or remove emissions elsewhere.”

Which again comes down to making no changes in your own behaviour while shuffling shells and peas far far away. Not far enough, it seems.

Some of us knew all along that the problem with the old tree-carb-offset trick is that trees absorb carbon while growing. But then, being living things, they die and emit it. And we also knew that sometimes they do not die slowly and emit slowly but catch fire and blast it out in a few minutes.

Perhaps the carbon offset crowd thought forests never burn. People getting the vapours about this year’s forest fires sure seem to think they are a new thing, one more proof that the environment has crashed in flames. But actually while humans tamed fire long ago we did not invent it. As Tony Heller recently noted:

“In 1992 the @nytimes wrote ‘Western landscapes in presettlement era were very smoky places.’ Now they blame smoke on ‘climate change’”.

Actually periodic burning seems to be essential to a healthy forest life-cycle, even if it doesn’t quite fit the Bambi mentality of modern urban environmentalists who also don’t know their high-tech gear contains petrochemicals. (As IMDB warns parents, in the famous film “There is a large forest fire which engulfs the animals’ homes, causing them to cry out in fear and flee in a frenzy. This may scare young children, especially those afraid of fire or lava”.) It’s one of those natural-cycle things.

The whole carbon-offset thing was in any case always far too much an exercise in creative accounting rather than actually snagging Element 14 and making it go away. For instance, that Bloomberg story says that:

“On June 3, British Columbia fire officials spotted a blaze that has impacted the BigCoast Forest Climate Initiative project, according to Domenico Iannidinardo, senior vice president for forests and climate at Mosaic Forest Management Corporation, which runs the project.”

Here we’re tempted to ask whether these were special carbon-sequestering trees with superpowers, unlike the estimated 300 billion other ones in the country? Did it have no impact on the actual carbon cycle if they went whoosh crackle, only if government-designated trees did? But for now let’s just focus on one small detail:

“‘About 100 hectares of our 40,000 hectare project was involved in this fire,’ or about 0.25% of the project, Iannidinardo told Bloomberg Green. That’s an area equivalent to roughly 140 football pitches worth of forest.”

As we’ve observed before, climate alarmists sometimes talk as though nature were so fragile that one careless human touch could unmake it. But here they’re implying that the climate crisis is so tiny that 100 hectares can make or break it. Pfui. Canada has an estimated 362 million hectares of forest (out of 998.5 million hectares total land area). Their entire project is 0.011 percent of our forest, and the part that burned 0.0027 percent. If that small a clump of trees really matters to climate change, if it can make a major dent in it, the problem is trivial.

If not, this carbon-offset business is a delusion or worse.

8 comments on “Carbon offset ablaze”

  1. In the UK reforestation is a major plank of
    the Net Zero madness as the Royal Society estimates that each hectare of woodland sequesters 10 tonnes of CO2 per year. For Canada with a shorter growing season and more common forest fires let’s assume each hectare sequestered only 5 tonnes per year. So 362 million hectares sequester over 1800 million tonnes of CO2. annually. Canada emits approx 700 million tonnes per year so voila Canada is not just carbon neutral but we could be selling credits to the world.

  2. In a world of ESG, DEI, CRT, all within a fatally mixed economy, corporate fascination with rent seeking and gaming the CAGW hysteria is to be expected and all under the enforcers of the cult of 51 genders.

  3. If you want to be taken seriously do not quote Tony Heller in your articles. He is not even remotely a climate researcher or scientist and uses every trick in the book to fool people into believing what he is saying - most notably “bait and switch” and “straw man” tactics. He has never subjected any of his “theories” to peer review nor published anything regarding climate science in a reputable journal. In that regard he is as bad as Roger Hallam on the catastrophe narrative. There are plenty of good arguments from reputable sources that are peer reviewed and published that you can use. Quoting Tony Heller just makes you look stupid.

  4. Mr. Hope, You have failed to account for the composition of your vast Canadian forests, 68% of Canada's 3.47 Million sq Km are Coniferous Trees that absorb 'Nasty CO2' Year-round.

  5. "Perhaps the carbon offset crowd thought forests never burn."
    And perhaps they knew full well that they do and just do not give a flying fart. They're the elites and elites have always been exempt from the strictures that plague lesser mortals. We might not consider castles and manor houses all that posh but they beat the frack out of what serfs lived in.

  6. Glenn: Are you questioning the accuracy of the quote or the sincerity of the comment?
    Tony has never pretended to be a climate scientist. Despite some flaws (which you mentioned) a lot of his work is quite valuable and his sources well documented.

  7. Um, Element 14 is silicon. Carbon is element 6. Anyone hoping that a forest will pull element 14 out of the air is in for a sad disappointment. To be fair, forests are made of trees, and when trees die, it's often because they've been cut down and turned into lumber. All that wood doesn't evaporate back into the air. And because CO2-is-evil people are consistent, there's massive agitation for metal-and-plastic furniture to be banned in favour of wooden furniture like Noah made. Isn't there?

  8. The burning of the “offset” is just what’s required. Once the fire is out and the remnants ploughed in, the plantation can be regrown and income producing once again! The cycle of scammage closely follows the cycle of nature.

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