Thursday, March 01, 2007


Al Gore has the highest profile of any environmental activist: he has made global warming his cause. Clever guy that he is, he's even making money out of saving the planet by buying carbon credits from himself. Cool, capitalism in action.

It does seem odd, however, that Gore missed an opportunity to be not just carbon neutral but carbon negative, while still making money buying carbon credits from himself and also saving money on his power bills. It's simple really. First he'd have to look at his historical energy consumption and forecast his future consumption -- say three years into the future. He would then allocate funds to buy carbon credits based on estimated future consumption. Then he could have an energy audit and implement the recommended energy saving measures -- given the size of his bill, big energy savings are likely.

If Gore did this, the carbon credits bought to cover forecast energy consumption would exceed that required to cover his reduced consumption, so he'd have credits left over. He'd at this point be carbon negative. So long as his reduced current consumption was less than that forecast he'd be ahead of the game because he'd be saving money on his power bills. Now it could be argued that Gore would be silly to reduce consumption while buying carbon credits to cover higher forecast consumption. But since global warming is essentially a religion, with Al Gore its holy father, it seems only fair that he should set an example for the faithful by donating as much as he can afford -- call it eco-tithing: save the planet, give 'til it hurts.


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