Doing something nonpolluting doesn’t offset something polluting

July 11, 2021 by Joshua
in Nature, Visualization

Posting yesterday that Eating something healthy doesn’t offset something unhealthy suggested a parallel with polluting.

People dream that if they do polluting things, they can do something nonpolluting to average it out, as if carbon offsets or recycling had negative pollution that averaged with flying’s positive pollution to zero pollution.

Offsets don’t negative pollute. They’re nice, but they don’t put pollution we took from underground back underground permanently. You can’t undo drilling fossil fuels from underground. Maybe one day we’ll be able to sequester carbon permanently, but we have no such ability today. Potential ways of doing it are far from economical or able to work on the scale we need.

I edited yesterday’s graphic to illustrate and clarify. It doesn’t work exactly as much as yesterday’s but I don’t think it’s wrong.

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