Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Carbon Offsets, Indulgences, And Other Eco-Scams

Frank Pastore starts by making an obvious, but essential point:

"There are some things you just gotta do yourself. Someone else can’t lose your weight, quit your addiction, parent your kids, or confess your sins.

You have to do it."

Then he gets to the meat of the carbon offset business. It's all a scam.

Last week, in a great article in the Los Angeles Times entitled “Can You Buy a Greener Conscience?,” author Alan Zarembo exposed how the whole voluntary carbon offset scam works by profiling one of the leading companies in the offset business, Native Energy. It’s an exposé on the need for governmental regulation of the budding industry.

Basically, Native Energy is a middleman that buys offsets from places like wind farms and methane farms, for say $2.00 to $4.00 a ton, and then they turn around and sell those offsets to the public at “market price,” which is usually between $9.00 to $15.00 a ton. So far, so good.

The problem is, Native Energy is only buying a small portion of these alternative energy suppliers but they’re declaring a benefit as though they bought the whole thing. They buy a 1 percent piece of the action but claim 100 percent of the benefit.

That’s like buying 1 percent of a race horse and keeping 100 percent of the winnings. Not good.

So, Al Gore isn't simply buying and selling indulgences, he's trading in guilt remediation for hypocrites (like himself) who are more concerned with image than substance.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'll take global warming seriously when people like Al Gore take it seriously.

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