Posted by: Tony Carson | 7 August, 2007

Carbon footprint and the zero sum game

So, what’s your carbon footprint? How much are you contributing to greenhouse gas emissions? Would you trade with others to stay carbon-neutral? Would buy-offs ease your guilt?

It’s early times, but there is a new trend to becoming a zero-sum contributor of greenhouse gases (“carbon neutral”). That means when you exceed your personal target you purchase carbon off-sets, you invest in any project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, thus the zero sum.

This editorial in the Christian Science Monitor entitled Guilt relief in global warming is a useful start in understanding the concept.

Interestingly, the Christian of the Science Monitor takes on ‘guilt’ as a principal motivator and likens it to earlier times:

Using offsets has been criticized as an easy way to relieve “carbon guilt” without making changes in one’s daily use of fossil fuels that would reduce emissions directly. Offsets are likened to indulgences the Roman Catholic church once gave to those who paid to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in 1517 – buy a pardon for sins. (The campaign’s slogan: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”) The practice was criticized by Martin Luther, helping to ignite the Protestant Reformation.

The time has come for every individual to become responsible for his carbon footprint. Editorials like this are helpful but they should make a greater effort for a call to action. We can’t ease into this, it must be made an imperative.

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Responses

  1. Some say guilt, others say responsibility.


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