The Carbon Credit Crunch…

… or is that crunchy carbon credits?

When the Vatican recently announced that being a polluter is now deemed a cardinal sin, I got to thinking about the Holy Mother Church of Global WarmingClimate Change (and its self-appointed pontiff, His Holiness Albert the Gore), the full reality of it hit me:

Carbon credits are nothing more than 21st-century indulgences.

Much like the indulgences the Catholic Church dispensed long ago, they don’t actually change anything. When His Holiness’ mansioncompound in Tennessee consumes the kind of energy in a month that most of us mere mortals do in an entire year (and spews out a commensurate amount of CO2), the amount of CO2 that’s actually in the atmosphere purportedly cranking upfiddling with the global thermostat hasn’t actually changed, regardless of how many creditsindulgences he’s purchased. In this particular case, the pontiff himself is committing the mortal sin, but it’s all good, since he’s paying himself indulgences through the magic of investment trusts.

And much like the indulgences of Rome, the indulgences of Environmentalism go into erecting edifices and monuments to the Holy Mother Church. Now if only we could do something about the sheer quantities of hot air coming out of the myriad pulpits of the Church of Global Climate Change, we’d be making some progress.

Sheesh. Even Dell gives me the option of assuaging my guilt every time I order a computer from them. I can buy not only carbon offsets for my shiny new computer, I even have the option of paying Dell a few bucks to plant a tree for me. Must be nice to pass off their facility landscaping costs directly onto the customers, in the name of cardinal guilt. That’s sheer genius right there.

Flame away. Just make sure you offset your emissions. I’ll be off shredding a tree.

4 Comments On “The Carbon Credit Crunch…”

  1. thoughtsofresurrection

    Fascinating correlation. I think that you make a good connection here. I have always been curious about the good of carbon credits – seems like just a way to buy one’s way out of regulations. Hmm… Thanks for writing!Andrew Conard


  2. The Cybernetic Entomologist

    I remember reading somewhere that the entire country could be “carbon-neutral” for about $30 billion a year. That’s about equivalent to the pork in the federal budget these days. We could write a check for 30 big ones worth of carbon credits, keep polluting just as much, and then sign Kyoto and gloat about how great we are for being carbon-neutral.


  3. While I agree about the absurdity of carbon credits, I think the similarity of them to indulgences is superficial at best.As to changing anything, an indulgence would in fact bring about an ontological, though perhaps not phenomenologically apparent, change. (the remittance of temporal punishment due to sin)As to the pontiff committing mortal sins while issuing himself indulgences for those sins, both committed and anticipated- indulgences presuppose the prior forgiveness and absolution of the penitent, and therefore are of no consequence for future sins. Carbon credits exist to allow the offender to continue in the offense.As for going into erecting edifices- I think that because of the distinction on the ontological level there is a certain disconnect here. While indulgences have at a particular point in history been abused, the mere fact of an abuse does not necessarily speak to the primordial motive behind them.So my question to you is- how much does CoR pay Dell a year for their landscaping? 😉


  4. The Cybernetic Entomologist

    I was hoping you were going to impart some of your wisdom. I hope we never have to play Scrabble together, because you would totally kick my ass at it :)As for paying Dell to do landscaping, we haven’t paid them a dime directly for that. I’m sure, however, that those trees got planted around their corporate HQ regardless of whether someone was paying them a couple of bucks to do so. If someone felt the urge to alleviate guilt by ticking the box on their order, they merely pocketed the money under the line item in their budget called “Obscene Profit-taking”.So you can feel better knowing that part of that hunk of silicon and other bits on the desk went to pay for a tree, and if you were foolish enough to pay them for it, you did nothing more than feed the capitalist machine that keeps this country on the rails. :)I can’t help but think of Rob Bell in his Trees video.


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