Friday, June 29, 2007

Save the earth, empty your wallet

Whether global warming is real or not, attempts to capitalize on this issue should give anyone pause. A report “confirming” man’s role in global warming has given rocket fuel to a cottage industry that had been on the fringe.

Isn’t it interesting global warming is pinned on a group of people with the deepest pockets? And it’s even more interesting that the U.S. is the main target of global criticism while China and other rapidly developing countries are exempt from the Kyoto agreement. It’s kind of hard to get money from a volcano or a geyser or a flatulent cow, but humans, especially Americans, have two things marketers prey on: money and guilt.

Here are a couple ways to spend that money burning a hole in your pocket and absolve your guilt about destroying the planet:
  • An Australian company is offering to make your cat carbon neutral for a year at a cost of U.S.$6, while U.S.$16 offsets two years of flatulence from your significant other. The company says it offsets the climate-warming effects of emissions from cars, planes, humans, and pets by installing energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs and water-saving shower heads in houses in New South Wales, Australia.

  • Landowners planting trees are paid a set price for each ton of carbon stored by newly planted trees or undisturbed fields. Then businesses that emit carbon dioxide buy credits on the Chicago exchange to help offset their emissions.

I knew it was just a matter of time before someone found a way to sell air.

And here’s the saddest part … just who do you think is most vulnerable to these fears? Children. A recent study claims children are so concerned about global warming that they have trouble sleeping. The study says children are concerned that their parents are not doing enough to save the planet. Children are the holy grail for marketers of products and ideas. Convince them and not only do you have a customer for life, but you turn them into little advocates who chide their parents for not recycling or for buying a gas guzzler.

It’s a very effective strategy: Scare the people with predictions of natural disasters, tell them their lifestyle is the cause of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, teach their children the gospel of Global Warming, then hit them up for carbon taxes, flatulence offsetting and whatever else you can convince people to buy.

A venture capitalist at a conference recently said that “Going green is the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.” Indeed.


Anonymous said...

The thought of going and buying carbon credits to make a household pet carbon neutral is, I think, really stupid. Things like this are for the gimmicky, trendy environmentalist. The lazy environmentalist. It actually makes me sick. Most environmentalists and scientists I know are well intentioned in pushing the global warming issue. In fact, anything we would do to curb "global warming pollution" would have numerous tangible benefits beyond the curbing of the predicted warming of the planet. I.E. Energy independence, sustainability, cleaner air. Anything we would do, that is, except selling credits to polluters like indulgences were sold to catholics. If anyone feels that guilty about their pollution stamp then they should probably try something that would really work like installing solar panels, buying their own damn compact fluorescent bulbs, or just driving less.

That is a good point though to be wary of anyone trying to sell you the air. Some idiots think they can capitalize on anything. Unfortunately, too, some idiots would let them.

Hopefully, the global warming scare will only do its part to clean up the air instead of making a bunch of trendy environmentalists out those would be duped and scaring the crap out of a whole generation of kids. I think the message that gets lost is that, whether or not global warming is real, we could do a lot to shift our energy independence away from the mid-east, curb our air pollution and come up with more sustainable ways of fueling our economy without having to take any great risks with our economy.

Happy Birthday, by the way kiddo.


Hi, My name is: Tim said...

I was trying to explain to a guy at work about carbon offsets. I recalled the day I went for J's and my wedding license and they had a note saying that the rate had doubled. Their justification for doubling the rate was a mandatory donation to the NC Home For Battered Women. See? This way I have "pre-paid" for any harm I might do.

Does it make it OK to pollute after buying the offsets? No, but it might make them feel better about it. Does having a mandatory donation to a home for battered women make it OK for me to beat my wife? No, but it might make me ... nevermind. I'm about to get myself in trouble. :)

CO2 is such a small part of greenhouse gasses anyway, if they really want to reduce greenhouse gasses, they should go after the largest portion... Water Vapor.

Check out "The Great Global Warming Swindle" on Google-videos or you tube. It's British, but a good watch. There's one part where the co-founder of Greenpeace (who has since left) talks of their plans to ban chlorine. He recalls asking the board, "Isn't Chlorine on the Periodic table of elements? Aren't we getting out of our jurisdiction here?"

Watch it HERE