Money Spent on Carbon Offsets Is Money Well Spent

There has been some criticism of our recent purchase of carbon offsets through the Chicago Climate Exchange. While we understand the offset market is a burgeoning industry, we stand by our decision -- one that was made only after a careful evaluation of that organization's legitimacy, effectiveness and clear position as a leader in funding projects that truly reduce carbon emissions in the United States.

We have imposed ambitious goals for ourselves for a very good reason. Global warming isn't waiting for us to come up with the perfect solution to combat it. The House of Representatives is responsible for an astounding 91,000 metric tons of carbon emissions a year. Even if all of the proposed operational changes in our Green the Capitol plan are executed successfully, we will still contribute 24,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases into the U.S. environment. This is unacceptable and precisely why we decided to invest in offsets.

Is the continuous purchasing of offsets a sound long-term strategy? Probably not. We know that changing the way we do business and reducing our own emissions is the preferred way of going about this. But we are confident that the $89,000 we invested with the Chicago Climate Exchange to fund domestic projects aimed at decreasing the country's overall carbon output is important, particularly when the phenomenon of global warming could easily outpace our collective ability to stop adverse climate change.

This is not, as it has been suggested, a flippant waste of taxpayers dollars. Quite the contrary: it is a sound investment in the futures of every single taxpayer, and their children. Money spent to reduce carbon emissions -- whether toward operational improvements here at the House, or on a project the Chicago Climate Exchange selects to fund elsewhere in America -- is money well spent. We regard buying offsets as a small yet necessary prong in our aggressive and ambitious plan to reduce not only our pollution and waste, but excess carbon emissions on a national level.

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