Aid agencies offer carbon offsets aimed at helping poor adapt to climate change
Aid agencies and environmental groups, including UNICEF, Greenpeace, CARE International, and others, partnered up recently to introduce new carbon offsets aimed at reducing carbon emissions while also helping the poor adapt to climate change. The voluntary carbon-offset market is worth some $330 million and is likely to grow even more as consumers in rich countries become increasingly aware of their contribution to climate change. Many voluntary offset programs now focus almost exclusively on ensuring that large renewable-energy projects get built, thereby essentially offsetting the carbon emissions of guilty consumers who contributed cash for the project’s construction. But the group of aid agencies and eco-groups has its eye on entirely different projects in underdeveloped nations that would benefit the poor and help them adapt to climate changes already taking place. Projects they’re considering include planting drought-resistant cashew trees in India from which locals can harvest fruit, giving fuel-efficient stoves to displaced families in the Congo, setting up solar-powered lighting in Mauritania aimed at helping girls do their homework, and teaching kids in India how to swim so they can survive floods.