Is CO2-offsetting a trade in indulgences?

Many critics of the principle of CO2-offsetting claim that compensation payments for CO2emissions are only useful for calming one's own conscience, but neglect the real challenge - namely the reduction of one's own carbon footprint. It is often assumed that we are dealing with a medieval indulgence in which we can redeem ourselves from our sins without having to change our behaviour.

However, scientific studies on this question come to a completely different conclusion. A research project coordinated at the University of Kassel in 2015 by Prof. Dr. Andreas Ziegler and Dr. Claudia Schwirplies concluded that users of CO2-compensation offers are characterized above all by an already high environmental awareness. Usually, climate protection is also an important part in their everyday life and in their consumer decisions.

Prof. Ziegler explains: "CO2-offsetting (= CO2-compensation) is definitely not an indulgence trade, but allows the compensation of hard-to-avoid emissions, which should lead to more climate protection overall."

These results are published, here.

At we fully share these results. It is always more sensible to CO2emissions today rather than waiting and actually avoiding them in 2050 or later. Avoidance must be done in the long term anyway, the CO2-Compensation at this time, however, helps to build a meaningful time bridge until avoidance.