The Democratic National Convention Committee began working with NativeEnergy Inc. this spring to purchase carbon offsets for the dozens of convention staff who are flying, driving and otherwise polluting Denver as they carry out the big event.
Party organizers are now asking that delegates, members of the media and other political officials who will be attending the late August gathering do the same.
Delegates to the convention with the highest percentage of members offsetting their carbon emissions will be recognized in their seating section on the floor of the Pepsi Center, the site of the first three days of the event. If they offset their travel, they are also expected to receive a "green item" to distinguish themselves during convention week.
What to do with your carbon emissions...
'Offsets' for travel, meetings are popular but also have critics
They also warn that offsetting companies lack oversight and that the environment would be better served by people reducing their own pollution and demanding that governments end the use of carbon-producing fossils fuels.
The carbon neutral trend "tries to make money from tapping into consumers' guilt," said Jutta Kill of SinksWatch, an environmental group that monitors such projects.
"It's worse than doing nothing. ... Those who are in a role-model function like Al Gore do not do the movement for effective action on climate change a favor by promoting carbon offsets."