Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Don't Believe the Hype

Each morning i try to have a few huge gulps of yogurt be the first thing to hit my stomach -- so all that good flora is the first thing in my body when i break the nightly fast. Likewise, i listen to NPR or KBOO on the way to work, so that some good journalistic flora hits my brain first-off, before it gets all Foxified later in the day. And i am glad -- because it gets me thinking outside the BeavertRon box -- where moms slowly piddle down the streets, proudly displaying their TerraPass stickers on the back windows. And today, OPB's topic just happened to be carbon credits. I know what they are, though i hadn't researched much about it. Just something about it made me feel uneasy -- buying your way out of polluting just didn't seem to be a good thing. Any anyway, it is not something that most struggling Americans can do -- pay more money, so they can continue to fuck up the planet, and make themselves feel better about doing it? Not in my hand-to-mouth world. But if my dumbed-down take on this issue is not enough to convince you, or at least get you thinking, here is more about America's environmental "heroes":

"Carbon credits are also a way for many social environmentalists to continue to drive their gas guzzlers and for Al Gore and John Edwards to live in huge electric power-consuming houses while continuing to proclaim how environmentally conscious they are. In fact, anyone of us can go online, determine how many carbon credits we need and buy them from one or another approved sources.
Gore buys his carbon off-sets from himself--the Generation Investment Management LLP, "an independent, private, owner-managed partnership established in 2004 with offices in London and Washington, D.C." of which he is both chairman and founding partner. If Gore's motivation in pushing Global Warming is so altruistic, why did he establish a multi-million dollar corporation to cash in on it? Another question is did Gore create his business before the international global warming reports came out because he knew in advance what they would say?
There are practical reasons for participating in the carbon credit market if you want to soothe your polluting conscience. For example, $160 you can turn a Hummer H2 into a zero-emissions vehicle. No tools or mechanical ability are required. That's what a California company called TerraPass promises. It would cost less, of course, to turn a small car into zero-emissions vehicle; that would only be about $40. The stickers TerraPass sends its customers of course do nothing to stop pollutants from coming out of a car but, in theory, the company offers its customers the chance to reduce pollutants from other sources, like power plants, in an amount equivalent to that produced by their car. That way, you can drive your car while having no net effect on the amount of pollution in the air, according to the company. "

This was an article on a very right-wing website. I kept reading, despite its off-putting rightist title. I guess we can agree on the stupidity of this carbon credit idea... but what to do about it is another thing entirely. This stuff came from a site that says global warming is bullshit -- and says the "social environmentalists" are pushing the green revolution to further their own agendas. I don't know what their real motivations are -- who can get inside someone else's head?

But the bottom line is, clean water is good for my daughter. Clean air is good for her kids. And no matter whether you are paying guilt-bucks to offset the fact that you drive a Hummer for your trips to the corner store or not, it's still not good for my great-grandchildren.

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