Carbon offsets, rated, at last!

The fast-growing market in “carbon offsets” has raised more than a few questions about the usefulness of these products. Do they really do anything to clean up excess carbon dioxide? Or are they just a way to ease consumer guilt?

This week, the nonprofit group Clean Air Cool Planet has released a report that analyzes and ranks these products. “The Consumers’ Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers is designed to help those trying to achieve carbon neutrality choose appropriate offset options,” says CACP. “It evaluates 30 providers selling offsets in the US market.” You can read the 44-page report online.

The report has already sparked reaction in the blogosphere. Joel Makower at Worldchanging.com provides some analysis. He notes that some providers who ranked lower have already started to question the techniques used to create the rankings.

The report lists eight offset providers as “top performing” (in alphabetical order):

AgCert/Drive Green (Ireland)
AtmosFair (Germany)
Carbon Neutral Company (UK)
Climate Care (UK)
Climate Trust (US)
CO2 Balance (UK)
Native Energy (US)
Sustainable Travel/My Climate (US)