Posted by: shoji | September 7, 2007

Buy your way out of guilt

Carbon offsets have quickly become mainstream, being popularized by the Glitterati. It’s something like a voluntarily paid tax on carbon, with the proceeds going to projects that would reduce future carbon emissions (e.g., wind farms; tree plantings).My pet peeve with carbon offsets is that it is a way to buy a good conscience (and esteem, given the popularity of this issue).

clipped from
Carbon offsets are becoming an increasingly popular way for
individuals and businesses to participate in solutions to global
warming. The basic idea of a carbon offset is to figure out your
personal contribution level to the global warming problem from such
activities as driving, flying, or home energy
use. This contribution is called a “carbon footprint.” This term is
named after carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas. You can
aim to balance out your carbon footprint by purchasing carbon
offsets. The offset purchase funds reductions in greenhouse gas
emissions through projects such as wind farms, which produce clean
energy. As more clean energy is produced, this displaces energy
being created from fossil fuels. By funding these reductions in
greenhouse gas emissions, you balance out, or offset, your own
impact by an equivalent amount. Carbon offsets help you to take
personal responsibility for the environmental consequences of your

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  1. […] would still provide an future incentive to carpool. Hybrid permits, on the other hand, provide a moral veil to the single-driver culture, without the incentivization to […]

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