Carbon Offsets

Climate Care is a carbon offset firm used in an effort to be green by the UK Conservative party leader.  One of Climate Care’s projects pays Indian farmers to substitute human powered pumps for diesel pumps.  Opponents of the conservative party are having a field day:Treadle

Climate Care points out that even children can use treadle
pumps: ‘One person – man, woman or even child – can operate the pump by
manipulating his/her body weight on two treadles and by holding a
bamboo or wooden frame for support.’  Feeling guilty about your two-week break in Barbados, when you flew
thousands of miles and lived it up with cocktails on sunlit beaches?
Well, offset that guilt by sponsoring eco-friendly child labour in the
developing world!

Ala Larry Summers, I don’t see the problem.  Westerners pay Indian farmers to produce cotton, why is producing carbon-sinks any different?  It seems that some environmentalists are more interested in producing guilt than in reducing carbon.

Addendum: I am not claiming that carbon offsets work, in some cases the offset would have happened anyway so there is no net gain.  According to some, replenishing human energy creates more carbon than pumping oil.  But these are different objections.

Thanks to Mike Makowsky for the pointer.