Thursday, December 13, 2007

Carbon credits are the new pet rock

Excellent article by Maureen Bader (no relation to my bride) that hits on all the reasons why climate change activism is bad. Everywhere I go now somebody has figured out how to climb on the climate change bandwagon. The goal is to "sell credits" whether its a grain farmer who can convince a buyer that he has abandoned his reckless tillage practices in favour of greener reduced tillage or a cowboy who can document that his cows fart less under his current management program than under the previous one. Everyone is chasing the ephemeral "carbon credit" which will eventually be sold to real industries - like the hospital in Maureen's excellent article - and which will take money away from real productive activities.

Carbon credits are the new pet rock. Remember pet rocks? Some smart marketer figured out that the public was actually stupid enough to buy rocks, something that hitherto had been ubiquitous and valueless and lo and behold, he was right. The emperor's new clothes revisited. Carbon credits are no different. We're buying a mirage and in the process diverting productive funds to unproductive causes. Even more significantly and ominously we are diverting creative energy from productive avenues to chasing rainbows. All the effort that is currently being directed to figure out ways to milk the carbon cow would be better spent developing new energy technologies or improved extraction techniques for old energy.

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