Uncharted Territory

January 16, 2008

The Displacement Fallacy

Filed under: Biofuels, Carbon offsetting, Global warming — Tim Joslin @ 3:07 pm

Here’s a short paper I wrote a few month’s ago. It is entirely unjustified to assume that it is possible to “displace” fossil fuels using biofuels, or offsetting carbon emissions by paying for a renewable energy project. Sorry, the oil will not magically stay in the ground! If you don’t buy it, someone else probably will.

Please read “The Displacement Fallacy” (pdf) – it’s only one side.



  1. […] the useful Zero carbon blog.   “Subtractability” further develops the ideas in “The Displacement Fallacy” in the context of carbon […]

    Pingback by Subtractability, or, Top of the Tim Joslins! « Uncharted Territory — January 16, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  2. […] (3) Or the algal biofuel could simply allow people to drive more – see The Displacement Fallacy. […]

    Pingback by All about algae « Uncharted Territory — January 31, 2008 @ 8:47 am

  3. […] forward, IMHO, since: (1) It’ll simply displace economic activity that causes flying, i.e by the Displacement Fallacy, the available fuel will simply be used in China, India, Africa… rather than UK. (2) It may […]

    Pingback by The Icarus Project « Uncharted Territory — February 29, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

  4. […] Or rather, we’re confusing the “cost” of reducing fossil fuel use in one isolated case, with the (much higher)  cost that needs to be imposed to cause a global reduction in consumption.  We’re thwarted, of course, by the Displacement Fallacy. […]

    Pingback by Slightly less sternly bemused - a more considered reflection on the discounting question « Uncharted Territory — March 11, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

  5. […] is that carbon-intensive activities will relocate to countries where controls are lax – Displacement. Oil tankers will be diverted mid-ocean and some multi-1000km gas pipeline projects brought to […]

    Pingback by Copenhagen and a Cornucopia of Conundrums « Uncharted Territory — October 20, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  6. […] general problem is the Displacement Fallacy, though I appreciate that Stoft intends to avoid this through international agreements, starting […]

    Pingback by “Carbonomics” Critique, Part 1 « Uncharted Territory — October 31, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

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