Offsets, schmoffsets

  I appreciate Rick Craig's illuminating the concerns of the scientific community, and some forward-thinking members of Congress, regarding tree planting as a means of offsetting CO2 production (HCN, 10/15/07). Planting trees does nothing to alleviate our appetite for fossil fuels and petroleum-derived consumer products.

Real estate developers are now jumping onto the bandwagon of planting trees to offset CO2 as a means of justifying second homes. Ameya Preserve (a proposed resort development south of Livingston, Mont.), in partnership with The Conservation Fund, claims to "offset the CO2 generation for all families of Ameya Preserve during their entire lifetimes" by planting 1,700 acres of trees in north-central North Dakota. Simple and conservative calculations demonstrate this to be utter nonsense. By promoting resort development in remote and sensitive wildlife habitat as somehow good for the environment, Ameya Preserve and the Conservation Fund have unbuckled their collective pants. Now, would someone please pull them down below their knees!

Pete Feigley
Livingston, Montana