Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Fool and Her Money...

...are soon parted.

BARNET, VT. -- Sara Demetry thought she had found a way to atone for her personal contribution to global warming.

The psychotherapist clicked on a website that helped her calculate how much heat-trapping carbon dioxide she and her fiance emitted each year, mostly by driving and heating their home. Then she paid $150 to, a company that promises to offset emissions.

But Demetry's money did not make as much difference as she thought it would. While half of it went to plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide, the other half went to a Bethlehem, N.H., facility that destroys methane -- a gas that contributes to global warming. The facility has been operating since 2001 -- years before the company began selling offsets -- and Demetry's money did not lead the company to destroy any more methane than it would have anyway.

How, pray tell now, does someone go about destroying methane? Well, anyone who ever witnessed a college roommate light a fart, or touched one off himself, knows the answer to that one.

Moreover, the project received a "dirty dozen" award from a New England environmental group in 2004 because it burns the methane as fuel to incinerate contaminated water from the landfill, emitting tons of pollution each year in the process. This method of destroying methane can emit more pollution than other burning methods.

I'm shocked.

"I really thought I was doing something good," Demetry, 42, said after being told what became of her money. "I thought if I contributed this much money it would be helping the environment that much more."

Depends on one's definition of the verb "think".

Look, there are plenty of ways to "do something good" with $150. Doing a quick internet search for locally-available consumer goods shows us many ways we can spend $150 to make a difference in the quality of life of those around us, less fortunate than ourselves (sorry kids, "carbon offset fund managers" do not fit into that category).

Personally, I'd opt to take that money to my local supermarket and load up on food and/or personal hygiene items to donate to a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. $150 will go further than you might think.

300 cans of chicken noodle soup
150 cans of vegetables - all varieties
120 cans of tuna fish
100 cans of shaving gel
60 tubes of toothpaste

Other possibilities one might consider:

- winter hats, socks and long underwear for the homeless
- sports equipment for one's local Boys & Girls Club
- volunteer your time as a tutor at your local elementary school

That last one will only cost you a few hours a week of your time, freeing up that $150 for a big stack of "Kucinich 2008" stickers for you and your friends' hybrids.

Demetry's $150 purchase is part of the fast-growing world of voluntary carbon offsets -- an unregulated, largely on line marketplace.

This is the angle - the foot in the door, if you will - the Algorians and their overlords at the United Nations have been working all this time. They're hope is that this incessant promotion of this carbon offset fad will serve to soften up the masses for the carbon offset taxes they're looking to foist upon us all to fuel this ongoing scam.

Sadly, people like Ms. Demetry are buying it, sending their checks in, and emboldening these globo-socialist goons.

Although specialists say some of the money is well spent, it can be difficult for consumers to figure out if they are buying any new environmental benefit.

You don't say.

I'm surprised some of these "consumers" can figure out how to tie their shoes in the morning without inflicting serious bodily harm upon themselves.

Sales of voluntary offsets skyrocketed worldwide from $6 million in 2004 to $110 million last year, according to Abyd Karmali of ICF International a consulting firm.

$110 million? That's a shitload of soup.

My solution?

Well, in the interest of fleecing the stupid saving the planet, I am hereby launching the official No Looking Backwards Carbon Offset Credit Program.

For every hour that I don't get a combined minimum donation of $10.00 transferred to my Paypal account, I will do one of the following catastrophic activities, pushing Mother Earth closer and closer to the brink of destruction.

- burn a small pile of leaves in my backyard
- leave my kitchen light on all night long
- take wa-a-a-a-a-y too long trying to find the ketchup in the fridge (especially when it's sitting right there in front of me)
- spend an extra five minutes in the shower
- cut the cheese

You'd best hurry. I'm having chili for dinner.

UPDATE: In the interest of full disclosure, I had tacos tonight, not chili. I apologize to anyone who might feel misled in any way.