Thursday, February 22, 2007

Paying for my Bad

Carbon credits have been debated as a solution to sustainable lifestyles and businesses. Some say it’s a cop out, others an important step in a transitioning world.

The Wonderful World of Carbon Credits
Carbon credits are mix between a tax and investment. Their application is, for the time being, strictly voluntary. If you fly, you can pay a carbon credit based on kilometers flown. The carbon credit organization will invest your money in the renewable energy industry. These credits are not limited to air travel. You can purchase them if you drive a car, heat a home or any other activity that sends greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Carbon credit organizations will provide you with an emissions calculator by which to base your monthly contribution.

Sadly most investment firms and banks do not offer clients green portfolios. Good behaviour is not as lucrative as damaging behaviour. As public concern mounts and governments and citizens increasingly support renewable energy, I imagine that there will come a time in the near future when our investment portfolios will include companies that support sustainable enterprises. Until then, let’s assuage our guilt by paying for our very own greenhouse gases.

Not Let Off the Hook
Carbon credits must not be seen as a get-out-of-jail-free card. Purchasing carbon credits must also be matched with a plan to wean oneself from activities that warm the planet.

Some of you fly often. It may be part of your job. Can you reduce your air travel and invest in teleconferencing? If you drive, do you have a plan to cut back and use alternative means to get around? Can you carpool? Do you have a plan to make your home more energy efficient?

Every time you fly or drive, heat your home, even eat meat, can you pay a carbon credit organization to support a transitioning world?

My trip to Mexico cost me $10 in carbon credit. Hardly enough to break the bank. Rather than pay a carbon credit for my home energy use, I will pay Bullfrog Power, a utility alternative, once I receive my first utility bill which should be anytime soon. That will be about $1 extra a day. Not a bad incentive to make my home energy efficient and cut back on energy waste.

Keep in mind that companies and not-for-profit organizations too are invited to offset their greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing carbon credits.


Tree Canada


Based in California
Maryland-based company

Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Based in Oregon

A program of the Centre for Resource Solutions


The CarbonNeutral Company

Global Cool

Carbon Credits in the News

UK offsets all Government flights while encouraging citizens to go green

For a snapshot of these companies and more visit EcoBusiness Links.

In the News
I missed Al Gore when he came to Toronto to give a talk at the University of Toronto (sniff). Getting tickets was a miracle (sold out in three minutes). In fact, demand for tickets crashed the U of T’s ticket website.

People are anxious about global warming. Take a deep breath, stop feeling so damn helpless and visit my blog!

Green Bloggers


Grist Magazine

Tree Hugger

Zerofootprint Blog

No comments: