It is all the rage these days to be carbon neutral. That is to make sure that you take as much CO2 from the atmosphere as you put into it. How’s that done? Well putting it into the atmosphere is easy, just start your car, turn on the heat, or turn on a light, or simply breathe. There are only a couple of ways to get it out of the atmosphere; trees do a good job and rain does a lousy job, but they do it.
So if you want to be the envy of your friends and claim carbon neutrality, you are going to have to start sacrificing some of lifes luxuries and/or quit breathing. Unless of course you can afford to purchase a modern indulgence known as a carbon offset credits. This is what all the rich environmentalist like Former Vice President Al Gore do. You pay a surcharge on your lifestyle so that someone else can go out and plant trees or invest in alternative energy sources. You can claim carbon neutrality if you can afford it.
There are several sites available to take your money, for a small service fee of course. Many sites also offer stickers so others will know you are carbon neutral. Here is a quick sampling of dozens of sites. If you haven’t seen one you should look.
Carbon offsets are a convenient way for those with money to feel good about themselves. Carbon offsets are also modern day Indulgences; you pay so as not to suffer the consequence of your sins. Carbon offsets also look like a scam. I say this because I had a hard time figuring out how much money actually went into balancing my carbon and how much went into the pockets of the brokers. There is plenty of talk with words like certified and verified, but very few facts. It reminded me of some of the shady charities with directors running around in limos. When door to door con men start disappearing, we will know where to look for them.
There has to be other ways of reducing your carbon footprint, but if you have money burning a whole in your pocket and you need to brag about your neutrality with a sticker then go for it.
I might just need to come up with a catchy name and a sticker for people like myself. People in the county that have land with more than enough trees to offset their family’s carbon footprint. Maybe Carbon Hero. I think I’ll count my trees and see if I have enough left over to sell Wally Carbon Credits to unfortunate city dwellers. You give me money then I’ll tag your adopted tree and give you a certificate. You can send postcards to your trees if you want.
Whether or not or how much CO2 contributes to global warming doesn’t really change that it is probably better for everyone and our world to have more trees and less burning of fossil fuels, but this situation still looks like a scam to me.
3/1/07 – Whackynation had a link to a very interesting article about how Mr. Gore is buying his carbon offsets from himself via his own for profit company. It’s at Leaning Straight Up