Is YouTube Your Information Source on Carbon Offsets?

Search under the keyword term “carbon offsets” on the popular youtube.com web site, and you’ll find 209 or so entries. You’ll also find that few have cracked into the “big numbers,” with most having fewer than 1,000 views after several – or more – months online.

But there’s an exception, of sorts. The most popular carbon offsets site on YouTube is a 12-minute and 42-second spoof on carbon offsets featuring two young Brits acting-out. Even the most serious and conscientious climate change expert – and clearly, it’s a very serious issue – could get a laugh out of this one.

“Cheatneutral is about offsetting infidelity. We’re the only people doing it, and Cheatneutral is a joke,” the site organizers say.

“Carbon offsetting is about paying for the right to carry on emitting carbon …. Carbon offsetting is also a joke.”

Their own site “tries to make it seem acceptable to cheat on your partner,” just as, they say, “carbon offsetting tries to make it acceptable to carry on emitting excess carbon.” Their site in fact “doesn’t do much to reduce the amount of cheating in the world,” and they say carbon offsetting “does very little to reduce global carbon emissions.”

Just as their own approach is “fundamentally the wrong way” to solve relationships between people, carbon offsets are also flawed, they argue.

Climate change – and carbon offsets – are plenty serious issues. No doubt there. No doubt either that many of us in the environmental field are seen by others as being “too dour,” our issues too depressing.

Lighten up for a bit. Take a seat and take in cheatneutral for a few minutes. Then get back to the hard work of addressing climate change challenges.

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