Offsets are trendy. Just as Climate Progress is running columns on carbon offsets, Tom Friedman has a column on the subject, “Live Bad, Go Green.” Since his is only for N. Y. Times subscribers, I’ll reprint the key parts of it here. His bottom line: He buys offsets, but is ambivalent about them.
He opens by citing a London furniture designer who
heaped particular scorn on programs that enable people to offset their excessive carbon emissions by funding green projects elsewhere. “Who really checks that it’s being done?” he asked. And how much difference does it really make?
Here’s the heart of the piece:
So GM ran its annoying Live Green, Go Yellow commercial during NBC’s coverage of Live Earth. The company works hard to create the (false) impression they actually care about the environment. Yellow, of course, stands for corn ethanol, which is nobody’s idea of a particularly green product as far as global warming is concerned (except possibly as a transition fuel to cellulosic ethanol).
GM is not a company that is on the side of “green” cars. It has spent millions lobbying against tougher corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards (and it killed the electric car, whilepushing the not-in-your-lifetime hydrogen car instead).
So why do they tout ethanol flex fuel vehicles? Because for a small amount of money, it makes them look green, while actually allowing them to generate more pollution with their fleet of cars. They are exploiting a loophole in CAFE: