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Google Chided For Using Carbon Offsets

google-earth-day2Through energy reduction and purchase of carbon offsets, Google says it has neutralized all of its 2007 emissions and part of 2008 emissions, as the company pursues its stated goal of carbon neutrality.

The Internet giant, however, is being chided by critics for employing carbon offsets. Carbon offsets have been described as “bogus” and “hot air.”

Even Google calls its offsets a “short-term” solution, saying they do not substitute for other action.

“Current standards for offsets require a significant amount of work to evaluate the quality of each offset project and ensure that projects go beyond ‘business as usual.’ Stronger additionality standards — that are more stringent, clear, and objective — would also make it simpler for corporations like Google to use offsets as part of an overall strategy to neutralize emissions.”

Google has generated lots of press for its energy reduction efforts in 2009. Examples run from the zany, “Google Clears Fields with Goats,” to more practical solutions.

Google is attempting to use its broad capabilities to influence the world at large.

In a video, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt says the clean-energy revolution does not cost, it pays.

In February, Google and GE sponsored a forum to discuss smart grid technology and opportunities.

Google PowerMeter, a prototype Web application, displays home energy consumption broken down by appliance. The software requires “smart” meters, which provide real-time information to both the utility and the customer.

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