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from Rapsode by Baba Brinkman



The hardest emissions to curb are getting 'offset' with carbon removal and pollution reduction projects where cuts can be made more affordably, leading to a massive 'carbon market' trading in credits of various kinds. Can we trust it? And does it actually make net emissions go down, or is it the ultimate greenwash?

Whatever you believe about the industry, the offsetters are not backing down.

Further reading:

Made with support from Agendi:



If the idea that you can simply
invest a little money and make
your carbon footprint disappear,
that’s because carbon offsets are bullsh…

Bad credits. Bad credits
Making-offsetters-look-bad credits
Like we never had them vetted
Scam credits
No-standard-having credits
Like we don’t know what a ‘carbon asset’ is

So let me break it down, climate change is now
Fossil fuel is what the planet is phasing out
Slowly, transforming glacier-style
Too slow to stop glacier melt

This is just an introduction to emission reduction
Supply chain, every link in production
Get rid of your combustion addiction
Give it up and mitigate the destruction
While still evading bankruptcy

Keeping your business open with emissions low
Is critical, what’s left in the mix is ‘residual’
The most expensive and difficult emissions
Offsets can help get rid of those

A bridge from low emissions to no emissions has to be
Based on the principle of ‘additionality’
Taking carbon from the atmosphere for a fee
Makin’ happen what would never happen for free

Makin’ amends
For carbon emissions

Takin’ pollution away
And just makin’ it

All better

Sale of indulgences
Pay for the privilege
Y’all sinners


Bad credits, bad credits
Improperly-vetted scam credits
Makin’ the cynical apathetic
Makin’ offsets look like a theatrical premise
At best, and at worst an actual menace

Bad credits undermine the whole rationale
Now they say “the checks simply don’t balance out”
Not enough plantable ground to capture each ounce
But the offsetters are not backin’ down

“Sometimes it fails in practice, let it go!”
It’s all fixable, check the principle
A financial incentive to grow carbon sinks
In the developing world, that is literal gold

Protect a forest, from timber companies
And poachers who would happily wreck it for us
Build a clean energy source
Transform an emitting industry into one that absorbs

“How do we pay for it?” With a carbon market
With enforceable standards so it’s not defrauded
Only true removals getting bartered on it
Now watch as total emissions start to plummet

The idea is that an offset should provide
an extra reduction of carbon
that wouldn’t have happened
any other way.

‘Cause stopping pollution
Is harder than moving
To offsetting

You might wanna hide in
A cave if you find it
Too upsetting

If we can cool off
A planet that’s getting
Too hot, let us

Don’t try to dismiss it
As greenwashing, nah
‘Cause it’s all vetted

Makin’ amends
For carbon emissions

Takin’ pollution away
And just makin’ it

All better

Sale of indulgences
Pay for the privilege
Y’all sinners



from Rapsode, released May 15, 2023
Lyrics by Baba Brinkman
Produced by Tom Caruana
Chorus Vocals by Isiah Dunkley
Keys by Simon Kendall

Contains a sample from "Last Week Tonight"


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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Science rapper and inventor of several novel hip-hop variants. Canadian transplant to New York. Pathological optimist.

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