Sunday, November 1, 2009

Carbon Offsets and Snake Oil salesmen.

Good Morning all.

Well, outwardly it seems like a fine fall day from where I'm sitting. The sun is shining, its not raining,and the temperature is approaching warm. Yessir seems like a fine day. But is it? Remember the Old Days when Quack Salesmen would come to every Village at one time or another, selling a "Miracle Cure"?. These polished and glib Salesmen would sell you a bottle of their miracle Elixir for the low low price of just a Quarter or a Dollar or whatever,and have such a mesmerizing sales pitch, a person would began to feel aches and pains they didn't even know they had until that moment, and they suddenly just HAD to have a bottle or two of that miracle draught. Usually, sooner than later people wised up to the fact that said elixir was mostly just Alcohol, and would therefore certainly make one feel much better, until the next morning, when the salesmen had moved on to greener pastures.

Such men came to be Called (I'm Told) "Snake Oil Salesmen". and fell out of favor and welcome when enough people knew about the Alcoholic Properties of their product, or just realized that they didn't have any Snakes that needed Oiling. There were undoubtedly a certain few imbibers in every small town that mourned their leaving, but by and large, most were glad to see them decamp.

I guess what colors my appreciation of what seems like a fine fall day, is worrying about my "Carbon Footprint" and whether or not I should purchase some "Carbon Offsets"?, or the modern day equivalent of Snake Oil.

Perhaps I am just ill informed, or ignorant, but I just don't quite understand the whole Carbon Offset thing.

The way I understand it is that each of us is supposed to calculate our "Carbon footprint" i.e., the amount of pollutants we are each releasing into the atmosphere and buy "Carbon Offsets" to neutralize said emissions. Now call me dumb (and join the countless people who already do) or ill-informed or skeptical, but I just don't get it.

I guess it's the Old Pseudo-Scientist in me, but I have trouble understanding how it is possible for me to pollute the air, through whatever means, and then cancel out those pollutants by paying someone else not to pollute, or in the case of several well known and wealthy people, paying some company of Wizards to absolve their sinful pollution by some mysterious means known only to them(the Wizards)for a number of "Carbon Offsets"

This seems to be the most popular option for the glitterati, who often have more money than sense, and want to drive home this point to us, the gullible T.V.-watching gomers of the world.

If I have it right, the whole basis for this popular method of self-absolvment is to perhaps locate some remote village in Africa or some such, which village has never had Electricity supplied to them in recorded History, have no desire for such service, don't even really know what Electricity is, can't afford it, and so on, and then Pay the Village Elders to sign their name, or make their mark on an agreement saying that they will never have Electricity run to their village. Then the erstwhile Carbon Credit Dealer will compute how much carbon is not released, as it never was, to the atmosphere because of this village remaining non-electric,as it already (the Village) had every intention of so doing, and then selling some well heeled and self absorbed individual in the U.S. a Carbon Credit or credits, while will allow them to continue to use as much Electricity, Natural gas, Gasoline, manufactured clothing, consuming milk and meat (both products of that infamous methane emitter, the common Cow, as they desire.

I think I have figured out a method to absolve me of my pollutant-sins (some of them at least) first, I'll pay my neighbor a Dollar a day to not drive more than one of his four vehicles simultaneously. Second I'll pay him an additional dollar for every day he does not Mow his Lawn, when there is Snow on the Ground, thirdly I'll make another contribution to his purse for not breaking the law and burning leaves, even though he never does so. Next I'll start feeding my Dog only every other day, thus reducing the amount of Methane she would normally produce,,,No, wait,, that wouldn't work because the Gasoline I would burn in driving to the Hospital to have a dog Bite medically seen to would offset the amount I would save on this type of Doggy-Diet. Scratch this one.

I think I'll just do what I have always done, and recycle all the things I can,and watch the Newspaper carefully for Coupons offering free Carbon Credits, and save them until a Politician or Actor comes to town, and maybe plant a tree or two to furnish some clean air to offset the Hot Air produced in Washington.

How about you? Seen any unoiled snakes recently?. Keep your eyes open and avoid eating beans.

Stay Well (and Carbon Free)


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