PopOffsets is a web-based, carbon offsetting project of Population Matters, (formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust), a charity devoted to offsetting CO2 emissions enabling individuals and organisations to fund family planning schemes, health programs, relationship and sex education worldwide.
Founded in 1991, Population Matters is a leading UK campaigning charity concerned with the effects of current world population growth on the natural environment, particularly regarding climate change. It advocates population stabilisation, by improved provision and access to family planning schemes, better education, rights for women and that couples voluntarily "stop at two". For the UK, it advocates greater effort to reduce the high rates of teenage pregnancy, unintended pregnancy and that immigration is brought into balance with emigration. OPT recently commissioned research paper ""“Fewer emitters, Lower Emissions, Less Cost”"" indicates that providing a currently unmet need for family planning is the lowest cost way of reducing CO2 emissions and climate change – possibly less than one third of the cost of other technological fixes – without any environmental downsides. OPT estimates every $7 ( £4) spent on family planning saves one tonne of CO2. A similar reduction would require a $13 ( £8) investment in tree planting, $24 (£15) in wind power, $41 ( £31) in solar energy and $92 (£56) in hybrid vehicle technology.
Launched on 3 December 2009, just days before the Copenhagen Climate Summit, PopOffsets is the first and only carbon offsetting scheme worldwide investing its funds in family planning, sex and relationship education. OPT campaigns that the current world-population growth trend of 1.58 million new births per week is not sustainable in view of the environmental impact on Earth’s finite resources. OPT considers vital investing in family planning services, with particular regard to women who have little or no access to these services. OPT claims that every year there are 80 million unwanted pregnancies in the world which could be avoided by making education and family planning services accessible to everyone. Details of PopOffsets were circulated to every British MP.
How it works
The PopOffsets web- project offers a step-by-step guide which enables contributors to make online donations to OPT, in order to support family planning solutions. Contributors can calculate their estimated annual amount of CO2 emissions on the ground of their country of residence, using a “CO2 calculator”. The calculator divides the total amount of the chosen country’s CO2 emissions by number of citizens. The contributor can then decide to offset his or her annual CO2emissions or opt for a “one off” amount, by determining the exact amount of CO2 he/she is wishing to offset.
The funds gathered from online donations are distributed between family planning schemes, contraceptive services and supplies, sex and relationship education and health programs. OPT aims at using majority of the funds on meeting the needs of over 200 million women worldwide who do not have access to family planning and birth control methods. OPT is currently reviewing its first project application, in cooperation with UK marine charity Blue Ventures, aimed at providing contraception services in Madagascar, that with an average fertility rate of over 5 birth per woman has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world, but very limited access to family planning options. This would be the first project funded by PopOffsets funds.
The launch of the Pop Offset project on December 3 received international media coverage from both print and broadcast media outlets, including, in the UK, The Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Express, The Telegraph, Reuters, BBC and Channel 4.
The PopOffsets program has received some criticism on the grounds that populations of developing countries, although bearing high birth rates, are not responsible for creating high levels of CO2. OPT has, however, stressed that reduction of CO2 outputs by the wealthiest is a vital component of any strategy.
- Optimum Population Trust