You propose only the following three types of offset programs: agriculture (soil and manure management), forest management, and waste management. Not only are renewables like wind and solar missing, but many of these proposed programs suffer from fuzzy science. For instance, while research does show that trees can act as an effective carbon sink, it’s unclear how effective they are for offset programs, because they are neither current nor permanent. Temperate zone trees can take 40 years to reach adulthood, so they aren’t necessarily sequestering carbon at the moment offsets are bought.
As a Californian, I’m quite proud that my state has been a global leader in green energy solutions. However, all that progress (not to mention our competitive market advantage) could go out the window if suddenly companies are given the option to buy their way out of the problem. While the offsets are cheap, dealing with the future environmental and social costs will be incredibly expensive if we lock ourselves into polluting practices and technology now.
But I promised to end on a happier note. So here goes: perhaps we can use your delayed start date (January 1, 2012) to our advantage by pressuring governments to sew up your offset loophole, such as barring large hydro CDM projects, and create a truly outstanding model of regional cooperation against climate change. And by that time, hopefully with a greener administration in the White House, the federal government will follow suite.