David Schussler

The current (fear induced) trend in thinking regarding global warming has spurred some creative entrepreneurial minds to new levels of ruse and deceit on our unsuspecting and trusting souls worldwide. Seduced by too little information, much of the world is railing against industry and private use of carbon based fuels in an attempt to curtail CO2 emissions. The newest thrust is now carbon trading.

Carbon footprint, carbon offsets, carbon offset credits, what are they?

Depending on the source of CO2 emissions, carbon offsets are based on the efficiency of the equipment or operation thereof that use carbon fuels to operate. If your equipment produces more emissions than are really necessary to produce the product or effect desired, then you have an excess of emissions and have developed a “carbon footprint”. According to some, that means you are contributing unnecessarily to the CO2 pollution of our atmosphere and are creating a carbon deficit value in your life or the life of your enterprise. Those of us who desire to be responsible stewards of our natural resources and the resulting affects of use of them on our planet and its atmosphere want to do what we can to create a balance. It is assumed that in order to balance your excesses you should purchase “carbon offset credits”.

Fueled mostly by guilt, a new surge of businesses has popped up that enable an excessive or inefficient user of carbon fuels to purchase carbon credits to balance out the misuse.

The most misunderstood part of this concept is that these carbon credits do nothing to reduce or eliminate CO2 pollution, and, in fact, give the wealthy opportunity to pollute more while falsely attempting to eliminate guilt because they can just purchase carbon credits to make it appear that they have a small “carbon footprint”. Just as industry has been doing for years, now the public can trade carbon offsets to, in effect, reduce their guilt, or make it appear so. What about those who cannot afford to purchase these credits?

Screwed as usual and made to jump through hoops to change their quality of life to conform with rules and regulations that are based on fear driven, unproved, scientific theory.

Who are these purveyors of credits and what do they do with the money? These entrepreneurs are collectors of money who the redistribute the money mostly to projects such as wind farms, biodeisel plants, dairy farm methane projects, and reforestation projects. Some of these companies claim to be audited and verified by various authorities and non-profit organizations to assure transparency and accountability. I tried to find out about these organizations and companies. I wanted to know how much the principals made and how the money for the carbon credits is distributed and why. It remains a mystery.

First of all wind farms, bio-deisel plants, methane projects, etc. are for profit companies and should stand on their own two feet. If such companies cannot profit competitively on their own in our society, which is now demanding them, they have major problems. Either they are being mismanaged or they are inefficient and not worthy of existing. Secondly, anytime money is being handed from agency to agency, the recipient gets very, very little. Just ask the recipient of any government program as a perfect example. Thirdly, and most importantly huge amounts of money for good projects could be misplaced to reduce a fraction of the implied problem. Remember, according to the most recent “scientific consensus” only a small fraction of CO2 emissions are caused by humans and more damage is being done to our atmosphere from cow farts than automobiles or industry. Maybe we should fund a project to filter cow butts instead. And what about all of those years when our land was populated by dinosaurs, or buffalo herds in the millions? Much more than our cattle ranches of today.

The bottom line is this, we all want to be good stewards of our planet but let’s be sensible. For example, this year, the Academy Awards decided to give each presenter and performer a year of carbon neutral living. The gift consisted of a glass sculpture from designer Simon Pearce and 100,000 lbs of CO2 reductions from TerraPass a (carbon credit funding company?) All this does is allow those recipients an opportunity to squander their carbon use as they publicly appear to be doing something good. What a great advertisement for the carbon credit purveyors. It will make someone lots of money, but at what expense to our common sense and other causes that may well be more deserving. Remember we are still studying the “carbon footprint” of the dinosaurs which became extinct long before human industry.

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