I’m currently reading Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin’s The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene. In the first couple of chapters, the authors lay down some history of the human interpretation of climate change. I find it mind-blowing that we understood our ability to affect this planet’s climate through our activities, and that we were discussing it, more than 200 years ago. Geologists like Thomas Jenkyn and enlightenment giant, George-Louis Leclerc (better known as the Comte de Buffon) both wrote and gave lectures on the topic.
Before going any further here, I want to make it clear that I’m well aware of the shortcomings of carbon offsetting, wonderfully satirised by the folks behind Cheat Neutral. However, carbon offsetting is undeniably better than doing nothing. And as sustainable as you might try to be, it probably isn’t enough. The World Resources Institute have calculated that we should be aiming for a maximum limit of two tons of CO₂ emissions per person, per year. And yet it is calculated that the average EU citizen incurs 9.1 tons of CO₂ emissions. The average US citizen emits about twice as much as this.