There has been a good deal of discussion lately of carbon offsets. They are the Gore defense to the excessive consumption of energy in both his mansions and private jet usage. In my column at Townhall today I explain why I think those using carbon offsets as a defense for their excessive energy consumption could wind up with a big political problem.
Putting aside for the moment whether or not anything man can do can affect global climate change, the concept of offsets presents some interesting political challenges for those promoting it.
One of those challenges is moral and ethical in nature. If global warming is truly a dire threat to the existence of life on earth as Gore and others claim, and if human activity contributes to the problem, what could possibly justify the excessive (I would even say obscene) energy consumption of Gore and other limousine liberals? If paying someone else to behave better than you do (through offsets) is a sufficient answer, I have to wonder just how real the problem is. I also wonder just how much bad behavior can be forgiven with the purchase of offsets.
Would Gore be as enthusiastic to embrace the use of offsets when it comes to other human activity that impacts the environment? The possibilities abound. How about a Litter Offset, for example? Could purchasing an offset make it okay to throw a fast food wrapper and aluminum can out of a car window? Let’s say an individual could purchase an offset that would pay for a couple of people with those pointy sticks to pick up trash on the roadside for an hour. Since even that small clean up crew would certainly pick up more trash in an hour than the original fast food wrapper and aluminum can that were discarded, it would seem the environment would be in much better shape as a result of the Litter Offset. It sounds like a winning plan to me. Offsets for everyone!
How about a Toxic Waste Offset? Companies that dump toxic waste into the waterways could absolve themselves of any responsibility for the way they affect the environment by purchasing offsets. The offsets could go to clean up dumpsites and to incentives paid to companies that don’t dump. How about Oil Spill Offsets for big oil polluters?
My personal favorite offset idea is one I call the Aqua Net Offset. This offset would allow chicks with big hair (and select male news reporters) to pay others not to use aerosol hairspray, thereby offsetting their own excessive consumption. Just consider the impact of the Donald Trump offset alone! It might reduce greenhouse gases more than all of Al Gore’s carbon offsets combined. Follow me on this one. Last year it was reported that one result of efforts to reduce chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was that some of the chemicals that replaced them in refrigerants and aerosols, while better for the ozone layer, “act as a reflective layer in the atmosphere that traps heat like a greenhouse.” The fix for the ozone layer contributed to greenhouse gases, which many believe contribute to global warming. My Aqua Net Offset could have prevented all that and might just have kept Big Hair in style, as well. (Okay, admittedly that is a drawback.) Another political problem for those using carbon offsets to defend their personal environmental practices is the wealthy elite factor. While some rich celebrities (and politicians) are telling us little guys how to conduct our lives, they are flying their private jets and then assuaging their guilt by purchasing offsets. I don’t see that as a winning political message.
The Anchoress writes about the suppression of dissenting views on global warming and asks about how Gore is purchasing his offsets.
Al Gore says governments haven’t done enough about Global warming because the media is too balanced, and that balance brings a bias.
Got that? He’s telling the media they have to stop asking questions or reporting dissenting views and simply fall in line. He wants them to “report the consensus.”
Except – once again – there is no consensus about global warming, or its causes, there are only people who won’t allow the other side to be heard and then TELL you there is a consensus. And you’re supposed to just believe it. Take it “on faith.”
I still want to know how green are his two mines in Carthage. I want to know more about how he buys his “offsets” from his own company – is anyone following the money here? Is a single journalist going to look into what carbon offsets actually do or do not do and is anyone at all asking why we’re supposed to just take all of this “on faith” when (as Gore admits – probably inadvertantly – in this piece) there is a dissenting view?
Gore would like that. He wants you to take it all “on faith.” And he wants the press to just write what he tells them to (and some of them seem more than happy to do just that) and reap the whirlwind.
Dan Riehl has the story about where Gore is purchasing carbon offsets. It appears he is buying them from himself.
Update: Print your own carbon credits!