More Climate Hypocrisy

A Tarheel who goes by the name of William Teach has a conservative blog, The Pirate’s Cove, in which a lot of the articles are about global warming climate change. On one particular article, concerning the wildfires in Australia, a frequent liberal commenter, John, wrote:

Teach you do not have to give up all fossil fuel use to go carbon neutral
Just buy carbon offsets remember that you offset the carbon footprint for an Average American the cost is only about $100 per year
Like 25 cents a day would you really notice that ?

Now, what is a carbon offset?

A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. Offsets are measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e). One tonne of carbon offset represents the reduction of one tonne of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.

There are two markets for carbon offsets. In the larger, compliance market, companies, governments, or other entities buy carbon offsets in order to comply with caps on the total amount of carbon dioxide they are allowed to emit. For instance, an entity could be complying with obligations of Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol or of liable entities under the EU Emission Trading Scheme, among others. In 2006, about $5.5 billion of carbon offsets were purchased in the compliance market, representing about 1.6 billion metric tons of CO2e reductions.

In the much smaller, voluntary market, individuals, companies, or governments purchase carbon offsets to mitigate their own greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electricity use, and other sources. For example, an individual might purchase carbon offsets to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by personal air travel. Carbon offset vendors offer direct purchase of carbon offsets, often also offering other services such as designating a carbon offset project to support or measuring a purchaser’s carbon footprint. In 2016, about $191.3 million of carbon offsets were purchased in the voluntary market, representing about 63.4 million metric tons of CO2e reductions.

Offsets typically support projects that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the short- or long-term. A common project type is renewable energy, such as wind farms, biomass energy, or hydroelectric dams. Others include energy efficiency projects, the destruction of industrial pollutants or agricultural byproducts, destruction of landfill methane, and forestry projects. Some of the most popular carbon offset projects from a corporate perspective are energy efficiency and wind turbine projects.

In 2005, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting through a carbon credit proposal for the ready-mixed concrete company for which I then worked. Because that company used flyash1, a pozzolan2, as a partial cement replacement, it was, in theory, reducing the carbon footprint of the concrete it produced; the production of portland cement is a very energy intensive process. The company could be granted carbon credits for using flyash, credits which could be sold to other industries to reduce their on paper carbon footprints. Simply put, carbon credits did nothing to actually reduce CO2 emissions, but simply moved money around.

Former Vice President Al Gore, the chief political climate change action advocate, made some big bucks along with what Forbes called his “carbon credit huckstering partner David Blood,” Mr Gore has a huge carbon footprint, with two mansions, one in Nashville and the other on the California coast, but he claims to lead a “carbon free lifestyle, to the maximum extent possible.”  How does he do that? Investors Business Daily reported that:

Gore says he buys “carbon offsets” to account for all the CO2 his home and lifestyle produce. For example, he pays $432 a month into a “Green Power Switch” program that helps fund renewable energy projects in Tennessee.

Simply put, while Mr Gore did invest in some energy saving technology for his homes, his primary means is simply buying carbon credits. He can claim to be living that “carbon free lifestyle, to the maximum extent possible” on paper, but, in reality, his carbon footprint is pretty large, and he’s simply spending $432 a month to claim someone else’s lower carbon lifestyle.

More, at least originally he was buying those carbon indulgences from himself!

Emily Atkin gave Mr Gore a hall pass on his carbon profligacy in “Al Gore’s Carbon Footprint Doesn’t Matter,” saying in part:

But the hypocrisy charge simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. An anti-abortion advocate who believes abortion is immoral and should be illegal, but gets one herself, is a hypocrite. But climate change advocates who don’t live a carbon-neutral lifestyle aren’t hypocrites because, for the most part, they’re not asking you to live a carbon-neutral lifestyle. They’re asking governments, utilities, energy companies, and large corporations to increase their use of renewable energy so that you can continue to live your life as you please, without contributing to global warming.

Sorry, wrong answer: the climate change action advocates, including Miss Atkin, are not just asking individuals to reduce their carbon footprints (feetprint?), but are supporting candidates for President who have promised to use government power to force you to do so. Miss Atkin wrote, two years later, in “You Will Have to Make Sacrifices to Save the Planet,” saying about Governor Jay Inslee’s (D-WA) climate change proposals:

First and foremost, that sacrifice includes paying higher taxes. In an interview with NPR on Friday, host Rachel Martin asked him if he would commit to not raising taxes to cover his $9 trillion climate plan. Inslee said no, but only because “nobody running for office can make a statement about the future like that.” He then assured Martin that most of his climate plan would be paid for by private companies. “The government does have a role,” he admitted—but only an “appropriate public investment” would be made.

“Appropriate public investment” makes it sounds like the effect on the taxpayer will be minimal. But what is appropriate to save humanity? As Inslee’s plan rightly shows, it’s the exact opposite of minimal. The entire fossil-fuel economy has to be transformed in a very short amount of time. That’s going to cost trillions, an “appropriate” chunk of which is going to have to come from taxpayers. Whether that money comes from higher federal taxes on Americans, or taxes on private companies that pass down the costs to consumers, it doesn’t really matter. We will feel it, and it will hurt.

There is no avoiding this pain—and we’re not just going to feel it in our pocketbooks, but in our personal lives. Along with transitioning to a renewable-energy economy, any truly meaningful climate plan is also going to drastically reduce industrial meat production, expand public transportation, end our reliance on cars, and change the way cities are planned and built. The way we eat, the way we get places, and the way we live are all going to change. It will be much more than just an annoying inconvenience.

Good heavens! This, in The New Republic? A liberal magazine, doing something really radical like telling the truth?

Well, tell the truth Miss Atkin has, but it’s not a truth that the Democrats would want you to hear. “(D)rastically reduce(d) industrial meat production” means that either you will have to pay a lot more for meat in your meals, or you won’t be able to have it. Law of supply and demand, you know? What Miss Atkin has said is the literal part of what I have said figuratively: climate change ‘solutions’ will take food off of your table!

“(E)nd our reliance on cars”? The American public not only love their automobiles, but the moves by Ford ($F) and General Motors ($GM) to drop sedan production demonstrate what American consumers want: SUVs, crossovers, hatchbacks and trucks. Manufacturers attempt to produce the things that their customers want. Yet the Democrats’ various climate change proposals would restrict public choice and go hard against what consumers want.

More than that, it would impact how Americans live. The suburban dream home that so many families with children want, with actual yards in which their children can play outside, would become harder in which to live, because it would be harder to afford being able to get to and from work and school and the grocery store — where there’d be less meat, remember? — and everyplace else.

And for those of us living out in rural areas, like me, well we’d be just plain out of luck.

Miss Atkin tells us, though indirectly: forget all of that fresh air and sunshine, you’ve got to pack yourselves into the cities!

Mr Inslee’s presidential campaign came to a screeching halt, because he just couldn’t get any traction in the primary campaign, but then Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) adopted Governor Inslee’s climate change proposals.  Her plans — along with the plans of other candidates — tell us that, by 2030, all new cars sold in the United States will have to be ‘zero emission’ vehicles, by which she, and they, mean plug-in electrics.  That’s not the “they’re not asking you to live a carbon-neutral lifestyle” from Miss Atkin’s previous article, but plans by the various Democratic candidates to use government force.

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

It would be easier to take the climate change alarmists seriously if there was any indication that they took themselves seriously. The way they behave is not indicative that they think climate change will doom us all, but that they simply have to spend some of, what for them, is pocket change, to buy the carbon savings of other, poorer people, so that they can continue living the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed.

1Flyash is a pozzolan harvested from the smokestacks of coal-burning power plants. Interestingly enough, if the climate change advocates get their way, and coal burning power plants are eliminated, more cement will be required to produce concrete, thus increasing its carbon footprint.
2A pozzolan is a material which is not cementitious of itself, but becomes cementitious in the presence of water and excess calcium hydroxide during the hydration of cement in concrete to become cementitious in itself.
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