Nothing displays the hypocrisy of the global warming alarmists better than the idea of ‘carbon-offsets’. This is a scheme that lets environmentalists sleep at night even though they foul the air with CO2 and contribute, according to their preaching, to warming of the planet. People like Al Gore can continues to pollute the minds of gullible followers while they live in palatial mansions using many times more electricity than common folks if they assuage their conscience by “purchasing carbon-offsets”; in the case of Al Gore from a company he owns.
The theoretical purpose of carbon-offsets is to enable those who are troubled by an inability or unwillingness to reduce their own carbon emissions to ‘save the planet’ by paying conscience money to a company who is supposed to use the money paid to do something that compensates for a profligate life style. For example, someone wanting to fly or travel via a carbon emitting vehicle, plane or car, can pay for planting a tree to ‘offset’ CO2 produced by the vehicle.
There are two kinds of carbon-offsets available for the gullible to buy: ‘green tags’ and ‘carbon credits’.
‘Green Tags’ are renewable energy certificates that purport to show your money has been used to produce ‘clean energy’ from wind farms or solar panels; devices that are expected to produce equivalent amounts of energy as produced from CO2 producing sources such as coal-fired power plants.
‘Carbon Credits’ can be also purchased but buyers may or may not receive ‘certificates’. Money for carbon credits is supposed to be used to reduce CO2 by planting trees.
It appears that almost anything creating CO2 can be offset. Examples of environmentally concerned businesses attempting to do environmental goodness either out of sincerity or to incur goodwill abound. The Discovery Channel has joined with Green Mountain Energy Co. to find ways to offset CO2 generated by their support vehicles used in the Tour de France bicycle race; how they will do this is unreported though their intentions make headlines.
Bill Burtis, communications manager for a non profit, Clean Air-Cool Planet, that promotes “solutions to global warming” says “It’s grown to a billion-dollar industry”. But the industry is unregulated and recent reports show those buying carbon-offsets find that money they spent did not reduce carbon emissions. Is it surprising to anyone that the carbon-offset industry may be fraudulent?
In Kansas, Troy Helming created a business plan. His message was that donating $30/month to him would help save the planet from global warming. Helming sold ‘green tags’ to people who expected the money would be invested to offset CO2. Despite raising hundred of thousands of dollars to build wind turbines, Helming has only built one small turbine, a $25,000 demonstration model.
The law caught up with Helming, somewhat. He agreed to repay two investors $21,115 and another $18,000 to a state fund, and he lost a $500,000 house to foreclosure. In spite of all the bad publicity about his carbon-offset business, Helming still retains about 130 ‘customers’ for his ‘green tags’ who make monthly payments to him.
Although one may say Troy Helming was unsuccessful; the same cannot be said of Al Gore. The former Vice President has a mansion in Nashville that consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, citing data from the Nashville Electric Service. The Center reports that since the release of Al Gore's critical global warming film, the Gore family’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kilowatt-hours per month in 2005, to 18,400 per month in 2006, nearly four times that of the average American household.
Gore says he and his family live a "carbon neutral life style”, meaning he offsets energy usage, including plane flights and car trips, by "purchasing verifiable reductions in CO2 elsewhere." But it turns out he pays for his extra-large carbon usage to Generation Investment Management, a London-based company with offices in Washington, D.C., for which he serves as chairman, and of which he is a significant owner. "In other words, he 'buys' his 'carbon offsets' from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to him. To be blunt, Gore doesn't buy 'carbon offsets' through Generation Investment Management – he buys stocks”, one reporter writes. Gore likely makes a lot of money from his promotion of the alleged "global warming" threat, a threat disputed by many mainstream scientists.
Interestingly, Generation Investment Management's U.S. branch is headed by a former Gore staffer and fund-raiser, Peter S. Knight, who once was the target of probes by the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice for election fraud.