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March 17, 2007

Buying Away Global Warming

The Aspen Times (registration required) had an article about the increasing cost of "being green" that the wealthy are willing to pay. Through Carbon Offset credits and some slick marketing, the wealthy can feel good about doing their part to save the earth, despite flying around in their Gulfstreams and living in virtual palaces:

The notion of living a green life for the sake of staving off the effects global warming seems to be getting hotter by the minute. Especially among those who can afford the steep price tags for the ever-expanding list of environmentally responsible products and services...

When wealthy tree huggers need to get away from it all, they can buy TerraPasses - the carbon credit certificates distributed to Oscar presenters last month - to counterbalance the damage to the environment caused by jetting off to vacation via private plane. Unfortunately, though, one hour in a Gulfstream GV, for example, burns as much fuel as an entire year of driving, so it would take a $600 TerraPass to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from a single 3,000-mile flight.

However, for just $1,500, a moneyed traveler who flies commercial can buy a TerraPass to offset 1 million airline miles, or 450,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Plus TerraPass will throw in a free folding bicycle, which can then be conveniently stored in a private bike room.

Certainly, not every environmentalist chooses to travel by air - some drive instead. Which is why it's fortunate that a TerraPass offsetting the carbon emissions of a Lexus hybrid SUV actually costs the same as the one for the regular Lexus SUV. But the best news for penny-pinching nature lovers? At just around $43,000, the Lexus hybrid SUV is barely $6,000 more than the comparable non-hybrid Lexus SUV.

Wind Credits, Carbon Offset Credits, etc., are the biggest load of BS ever created. They allow the wealthy to use their money to "buy" their way into environmental friendliness as opposed to looking like Big City Liberal hypocrits when they fly their Gulfstreams around the world and drive their posse around in 10 Suburbans.

That is what Al Gore, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, etc., are all about. Nancy Pelosi asked for a mega-military plane to fly back and forth to SF. The A-list celebs that handed out Oscars to Al Gore fly around the world in private jets and talk in their little circles about buying carbon credits to offset their lifestyle, allowing them to not actually conserve themselves, but rather to bribe someone else into doing it. And all the while, they feel good about doing their "part".

It is precisely that part of the American lifestyle that is the problem. We all want to be like the celebs. We want H2's like our favorite athlete. We want to fly around the world like the jetsetters. And as we buy larger and larger houses to keep up with the Jones's, we continue to destroy the environment. Yet Hollywood and the wealthy can afford "energy credits" to offset their destroying of the environment.

Hollywood actors and the self appointed leaders of the environmental movement are far different from the rank and file armpit haired, pothead Rastafarian college kids that sport the nasty BO and wear their hemp clothing. Yet we look to these folks that live in mansions to be our conscience about environmental causes. The Inconvenient Truth is that the rich set the example of buying massive vehicles, flying private jets, and owning mega houses that consume massive electricity to power 100" Plasma TV's and heat their pools and hot tubs. We need real leadership and it is leadership by example, not leadership by purchasing "offset credits".

Posted by Justin at March 17, 2007 02:56 PM