Archive for April, 2007

Al Gore’s got nothing on me

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

I think I’m going to like this business with “carbon credits.”

That phrase and its sister utterances, “carbon footprint” and “carbon neutral,” are this year’s eco-catechisms. We’re all supposed to determine our carbon footprints — which is to say, figure out how much energy we use — and then look for ways to reduce that amount. So far, so good. I’m all about giving fewer of my dollars to power, natural gas and oil companies.

But if you can’t actually make a dent in your energy consumption, you can pay other people to reduce theirs. A whole brokerage system has arisen out of this idea, which is how carbon credits came into creation. Wealthy people who live in huge homes with four-figure monthly energy bills — people like Mr. Inconvenient Truth himself, Al Gore, for instance — buy the “right” to use the energy that somebody else has stopped using.

Somebody needs to be putting some money on the table. My table, specifically.

Why? Let me start with the most recent change in my life: I quit my job two weeks ago, which means I no longer make a daily round-trip commute of 30 miles. Furthermore, because I don’t have my mainstream media reporting job now, I don’t drive around in search of people to interview about, say, Karl Rove’s involvement in Mother Teresa’s mysterious death. (You didn’t know she died mysteriously? Damn, he’s good.) That’s more miles saved. Anybody who drives an SUV owes me some money, by my calculations.

Also, last year I decided to see how far into the sweltering Southern summer I could go before turning on the air conditioning in my home. I made it until July 5th. I’m determined to beat that date this summer, but it’s going to be tough. We’re not even into May yet, and my little patch of North Carolina already feels tropical. It’s well after dark right now as I write this, but it’s still muggy. In fact, let me go check the house temperature at the thermostat. (Pause.) Ouch. It’s 84 degrees in here, and this is the nighttime cool. That’s more money somebody owes me.

Best of all, there’s a bar within walking distance of my house. For the right kind of bucks, I’ll make that walk every night.

Yes sir. Love those carbon credits.