The Problem With "Renewable" Products

Are companies enforcing consumers to buy “Green” or “Renewable” products?

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We have come across companies selling their “green” or “renewable” products. These are often marketed as products that do not harm the environment or products that harm the environment a bit less. These companies know that building and selling these products can be challenging as the economic costs involved in building and manufacturing these products may not be sustainable for them. Yet, they try to sell the consumers their eco-friendly products. We try to consider the problems related to these products and their long-term impacts.

The Myth Of Carbon Neutrality

Large technology product companies are promising that they will go carbon neutral in the next decade or so. According to the United Nations, carbon neutrality means that they cut greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere. They point out key problems such as rising temperatures and global warming. While it may seem like negative emissions could be a substitute for the reduction of feasible emissions, there might be negative side effects. For example, if we suddenly stopped emitting greenhouse gases on a global scale, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air would persist millenniums later. Saving forests and preserving natural resources will be great for wildlife and the climate but this should not be a substitute for cutting emissions directly. Canceling carbon-emitting projects simply will not reduce the carbon emissions entering the atmosphere. Technology companies use this as a distraction from the real solutions to climate change. Industries such as airlines or oil are never able to justify their unsustainable behavior. These companies and industries need to think of different business strategies and should think about the planet’s future than their profits.

Law Of The Land

Adding environmental rules can invoke people to avoid them. For example, if a country’s government puts a cap on certain emissions, the business owning these emission-generating factories or industries would move to a different location. While growing more trees can be helpful, we have seen a rise in cases of forest fires. This can suddenly pump back carbon into the atmosphere. We don’t want to promise an unrealistically precise offset that will make the companies break their promise, overlooking the credibility of the program. Given the latest trends, the offsets are cheap now. Because of this, there isn’t enough pressure on the government or business to change their carbon-emitting behavior. If they’re too expensive, few of them will buy voluntarily. Since the market is completive, it is important to price the transition amount.

Final Thoughts

We point out these intricacies not to demotivate the regular consumer or to say that deploying carbon-neutral energy is bad but to point out that it’s everyone’s contribution collectively that will reduce climate change. Carbon offsets will be some of the important steps humans will have to take to save ourselves from danger.

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