carbon offsetting

Paying someone to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or to sequester carbon (see carbon sequestration) as a way of compensating for one’s own emissions. Offsetting is without scientific legitimacy, almost certainly leading to a net increase in emissions. According to an American author: ‘Offsets are like the indulgences that were sold by the church in the middle ages … Anyone who argues for offsets today is either a sinner who wants to pretend [that offsets are] adequate penance, or a bishop collecting moola.’ The Clean Development Mechanism is a form of offsetting operating between states under the Kyoto protocol.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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