Phil, zero-champion over at Sustainability blog alerted me to a great paper from the Australian Institute – ‘Clean coal’ and other greenhouse myths – in no nonsense , tell it as it is speak, available as pdf from the UK policy hub site
from the intro:
there is no longer any doubt that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases are leading to dangerous change in the global climate. In Australia, public and political opinion finally shifted in late 2006, with record droughts and an early start to the bushfire season. The Stern Review in October 2006 and the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February 2007 reinforced fears about global warming.
The debate has now shifted to the best means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to the need for adapting to the level of climate change that now appears inevitable. Not surprisingly, the confusion and deliberate misinformation which formerly surrounded the debate on climate change has now shifted to the debate on how to tackle it. If there is to be an effective response (and the odds do not look good at present) very large changes are required in the global economy, and especially the global energy system. There will be both winners and losers among industries and companies. The potential losers are fighting to retain their advantages and privileges. Others are positioning themselves to profit, in some cases from ineffective or even counterproductive ‘solutions’.
Part of the strategy of potential losers and winners is to influence the public debate through myths and half-truths. Governments and oppositions are also attracted to convenient half-truths to mask inaction or lack of effective policy. Even among the many who sincerely support a reduction in emissions, there is much confusion.
My favourite myth?… no 8….
Buying carbon offsets is the same as actually reducing emissions. In fact, buying offsets is too often just a smokescreen for large emitters who intend to operate on a ‘business as usual’ basis. A reduction in emissions requires a reduction in emissions, plain and simple.