Perhaps this (sub. rqd.) is not the best strategy:

The House purchased these carbon credits to offset the impact of 30,000 tons of carbon emitted by the U.S. Capitol’s coal-burning power plant each year. The funds will be used on carbon reducing measures, such as planting trees and underground storage of carbon dioxide, as well as green technologies like wind and solar power. The auction was oversubscribed with a weighted average clearing price of $2.97 per ton.

I hope they didn’t plant a lot of trees — they aren’t the greatest offsets (see here also). And I really hope the underground storage carbon dioxide isn’t used for enhanced oil recovery — a very dubious offset.

I personally wouldn’t recommend the Chicago Climate Exchange for offsets — too many environmental groups have doubts about it, and I have heard some serious concerns directly from people involved in their offset projects.

At least the House is cleaning up its own act first:

The House will become carbon neutral by purchasing wind power for the electricity it uses, and by substituting natural gas for coal to generate the House’s portion of the electricity produced by the Capitol Power Plant. To offset the carbon emitted from burning natural gas, the House will purchase carbon offsets.

That’s much, much better than just trying to offset coal power with, say, trees.

This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.