Image credit: Jamie Oliver
I just received a press release telling me that Jamie Oliver's latest series is carbon neutral. It made me feel nostalgic. There was a time when TreeHugger was full of posts about this company or that celebrity going 'carbon neutral' through offsets. From 'carbon free' light bulbs to carbon offset beer, atoning for your green sins was once as easy as signing a check. But things have died down somewhat. Sure, computers offsetting their own emissions is still news, as are in-airport offset kiosks, but gone are the days when a company could get tonnes of press just for offsetting their CO2. So what's happened? Could it be that protesters' parodies of carbon offsets have sewn too many doubts about the efficacy of this strategy, or even busted what they call the 'carbon neutral myth' all together? Or is it just that it became old news? Perhaps a world where the Fox network's 24 series is carbon neutral is a world where carbon neutral just isn't news anymore.
Whatever has happened, I can't help but feel it's a good thing. Don't get me wrong - I'm delighted that Jamie and crew have decided to offset the 242.6 tonnes of CO2 emitted during the making of the Channel 4 series "Jamie's American Roadtrip" by investing in energy efficient stoves in Cambodia, a wind-power project in China and a solar power installation in India through UK-based Climate Care. Unless the TV industry simply stops making series like this, then offsets remain a viable strategy for taking responsibility for the impact they have - and a useful incentive for quantifying emissions and taking action to reduce them where possible. But it's no longer a driver for big publicity - just a sensible step that everyone should be taking.
Of course it might buy you a post or two on TreeHugger, but the writer may wander a little off topic.