Today marks the launch of the Voluntary
Carbon Standard. The VCS is meant to be a kind of Good Housekeeping seal
of approval for carbon offsets: if you want to offset your jet-set lifestyle
or your new SUV, look for the VCS logo first.
After reading the new VCS Carbon Standard specification,
my feeling is that it still leaves a lot of scope for slightly fudgy carbon
accounting. For instance, can the notorious
RCEs, or renewable energy credits, count as VCUs, or voluntary carbon units,
under the VCS? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes, just so long as they aren’t
But at least now the system of VCS approval means that not just anybody can
come along and claim to be offsetting carbon emissions without any external
verification. (Hey! I’m not flying to England for Christmas! Now I can sell
you the carbon I’m not emitting!) So file this under "good first step,"
I think, and wait to see how it evolves.