Anyone who has sat through UN negotiations knows that the process can be slow and frustrating. There are long stretches of inactivity followed by a day when you realize that big things can be achieved when people and countries come together to seek consensus. For those of us who have been working on climate issues in the aviation industry, last week marked the culmination of a number of years of work.
The 29th annual South by Southwest Music Festival (SXSW) kicked off in Austin, Texas on Friday, and hundreds of thousands of concertgoers are flocking to the city. Most are coming by plane, bus, and automobile - emitting greenhouse gases in the process.
As a global technology company, we recognize the considerable amount of energy that our products and services require. That is why we committed to carbon neutrality and began our carbon fee program in 2012 and continue to take actions to address our environmental footprint.
The Case Of The Flatulent Fugitive: How California's Methane Monster Escaped The Carbon Cap (And How To Nab It)
We all make mistakes -- that's why pencils have erasers and renters have insurance. Not all mistakes, however, are equal. If we mess up a math test, we can erase and start over; but if we burn the neighbor's house down, we can't "un-burn" it by labeling it a mistake. Instead, we have to offset our damage by paying to rebuild it.
Let's put the numbers in perspective.
Offsetting isn't a complete and total "fix" to the climate mess, and it isn't intended to be. Poorly implemented, it may even become the ploy the pope worries about. But done right, it's an incredibly effective tool in a very large toolbox, yet it will only deliver on a large scale if it's embedded in a functional, well-regulated, and global climate-change response.
The voluntary carbon markets have served as the testing ground for compliance programs all over the world, even moving forward when efforts to implement mandatory cap-and-trade programs stalled. This has led to the voluntary markets having an influence that extends well beyond the nearly 1 billion offsets transacted over the last decade.