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A little exercise in comparing and contrasting

Concepts that strike me as somewhat comparable:

  1. Carbon offsets
  2. Pollution credits
  3. School vouchers
  4. Plenary indulgences

In each case, a black and white issue is reduced to a simple barter exchange, allowing free market forces to function to achieve a desired goal.

But for some reason, some are considered good and some are considered bad, usually based on one's political biases.

I, personally, come down in favor of the first three, because the end result is most likely an overall plus for the world as a whole, and the exchanges are freely made.

As for the fourth... well, for one, I'm not a Catholic. And for another, it's been out of favor for a long, long time.

Comments (17)

I don't see school vouchers... (Below threshold)

I don't see school vouchers being in that group at all.

The first one and the second are somewhat related. The first being a way someone with money to spare can still enjoy his excesses and then though a little more money to the Global Warming Machine to make it "A. OK." This way they can tell the rest of us to make sacrifices in our personal lives with a canceled check as somehow proof they are not hypocrites.

I somehow question if there's enough opportunity for all of us to buy Carbon Offsets. There's only so much area to reforest. And I have to wonder, if those areas shouldn't be reforested regardless and shouldn't wait for someone to feel guilty. Or if they would be reforested anyway. It smacks of something that could be turned into a scam real quick.

The second one is more like a government mandated version of the first. The end goal being wealth redistribution from the more productive to the less productive.

The fourth is an embarrassment for the Catholic Church because of the abuse. And if they first two are like it, it won't be long (if not already) that they are simply a form of sin tax or tribute with the Global Warming mafia. Accomplishing very little in reality except lining the pockets of those in the Global Warming Industry.

I have to disagree with the... (Below threshold)

I have to disagree with the acceptance of a 'carbon credit'.

First of all, who determines what comprises a 'carbon credit'? Is there a measurable, internationally-accepted standard for what a 'carbon credit' is? Who keeps track of these 'carbon credits'? How are these regulated? Can someone issue their own 'carbon credits'?

These 'carbon credits' appear to be more in the lines of 'funny money', and more symbolic than anything else.

After all this "credits" st... (Below threshold)

After all this "credits" stuff has been explained I now get it and will do my part.

I switched from Marlboro Reds to Lights. Then with my Marlboro Miles I saved from each pack, I will order that cool looking cowboy blanket from the Miles catalog and turn down the heat.

So for every cigarette I blow in the atmosphere, I use less energy from my awesome prizes I get for blowing smoke.

I'm giving myself extra credit for drinking Jack Daniels straight up too instead of drinking beer from aluminum cans. Another plus is I get real purdy when I drink Jack thus adding to the aesthetic nature of my surrounding environment.

I feel so good about myself right now.

I am a great American!!!!....and I'll drink to that...;-)

1. Carbon offsets<br ... (Below threshold)

1. Carbon offsets
2. Pollution credits
3. School vouchers
4. Plenary indulgences

#1, #2, and #4 are very similar in that they are all a form a penance (whether to God or gaia).

#3 doesn't really fit with them in that sense. However, if you view the set in terms of government enforced caps with allocation of a fixed 'pie' by individuals, #1, #2 and #3 are more closely related. That is, #3 is equivalent to having government essentially decide what the cap is on education spending (which it does with or without vouchers) and allowing a individuals allocate the, arbitrarily capped, amount of resources.

In the cases of items 1&2 y... (Below threshold)

In the cases of items 1&2 you are creating a market. A market that would be next to impossible to regulate and if so, who would be responsible? Like hermie said above, what would define a carbon offset? who would define pollution credits, and how much each is worth? I would imagine different pollutants would be worth more than others.

School vouchers are something different entirely. The vouchers would enable people to get what they pay for. With education, we are already forced to pay taxes to support our local education system, no matter how good or bad it is (kids or no kids). And if we choose to send our kids to a private school, we still have to pay those taxes to support the local education system. Vouchers would let the parents look at all their options and determining what's best for them and their children, hence your market forces argument works.

The indulgences are religious and have absolutely nothing to do with the free market.

I can imagine North Korea s... (Below threshold)

I can imagine North Korea selling their 'carbon credits' to Western suckers.

Instead of counterfeit dollars, pounds and francs, Kim has his presses making official North Korean 'Carbon Credit Certificates'. (Of course, officially backed up by the full faith of the government.)

actually reducing carbon is... (Below threshold)

actually reducing carbon is a dangerous concept that could produce dire consequences.....good news is it goes against human nature so not likely.

I might be a little slow, b... (Below threshold)

I might be a little slow, but I still don't understand how paying someone else not to pollute for you is as effective as not polluting in the first place. If the person buying the carbon/pollution offset would just pollute less in the first place the offset wouldn't be needed. With the money they save on the carbon/pollution offset They could afford to plant trees of their own, better insulate their house, buy low energy bulbs etc.

I live in the desert. If I save water and use less than my neighbors, can I sell that "H2O Offset" to someone else? If I want a pool, hot tub and green grass, can I buy an "H20 Offset" from someone in a wet, rainy state?

Since we have lots of sunshine here and I don't use a lot of it, can I sell a "Solar offset" to someone in the NE or NW that likes to tan?

As for number 4, how about we modernize it with "Get out of Jail Free," cards. We could have a sliding price scale depending on the crime/social injustice committed. The money thus generated could go to buying "Morality" offsets. Politicians and Celebrities have been using similar offsets for years, and with a "Morality Offset" they wouldn't have to go into Rehab. The sliding price scale would allow even the non-rich to be able to play.

Pleanary indulgences are ha... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Pleanary indulgences are hardly "out of favor for a long, long time". They are still common and encouraged in the Church.

It is the selling of pleanry indulgences that has been "out of favor for a long, long time" in fact since the 1500's or so. They were one of the reasons for the protestant revolt (or reformation).

Don't be like the MSM Jay.

"These 'carbon credits' ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"These 'carbon credits' appear to be more in the lines of 'funny money', and more symbolic than anything else."

And in that statement, Hermie, you have summed up the essence of the modern American "democratic" Party.

If you are a believer at th... (Below threshold)

If you are a believer at the alter of the Goracle religion and want to make a real difference, the only answer is nuclear power. Convert all old, build all new, as only nuclear power plants. Nuclear power eliminates 60% of CO2 emissions. Else you need to control clouds and water vapor, instead of trace gases like CO2.

To do otherwise, does exactly nothing, unless, you take draconian steps and destroy the free market and people's ability to travel. The alternative fuels all emit more CO2 between production and use than just using the gasoline as fuel.

Carbon credits are nothing more than the way the rich can feel good about doing nothing.

Carbon offsets and pollutio... (Below threshold)
Farmer Joe:

Carbon offsets and pollution credits are good idea (and were completely derided by the left until, oh, about a week ago), but the concept only works if there's cap on the total amount of pollution that can be produced. For example, if you and I are each allowed to produce ten units of polltion, and I have an easier time reducing my pollution than you do, I can sell some of my units to you.

Now who exactly Gore is buying his offsets from, I have no idea, but unless there's some enforcement mechanism in place, it's a completely symbolic and empty gesture (from a limosine liberal? Surely that can't be right).

My oldest daughter evidentl... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:

My oldest daughter evidently presumes that she is "mess neutral" since she helps in keeping other areas of the house picked up but her room is a federal disaster area.

I just got an email from a ... (Below threshold)

I just got an email from a former minister of Nigeria. They have over $10,000,000 in carbon credits available, and all they need is for someone to wire them 10% for legal and handling fees.

Any takers?

As for who Gore is buying c... (Below threshold)

As for who Gore is buying carbon credits from: he's buying them from himself. He's chairman of a green investment corporation, and the "credits" are really shares in an investment fund. So, basically, he's taking his money out of his right pocket, putting it in his left, and declaring the process gives him greenhouse gas absolution. See: http://www.ecotality.com/blog/?p=350

I bought an indulgence a fe... (Below threshold)

I bought an indulgence a few years ago. They're still out there.

Carbon offsets seem to me a... (Below threshold)

Carbon offsets seem to me a scam, a dodge. If polluting is bad, we should try to pollute LESS.

Purchasing carbon offsets just massages the polluter's conscience.

If I dump 100 gallons of used motor oil down a storm drain, then purchase the appropriate 'offset'- say, a contribution to a clean-up campaign or a donation to an oil spill cleanup research outfit- that doesn't change the fact that 100 gallons of motor oil went down a storm drain somewhere.

You know what carbon offsets are like? They are the new 'awareness ribbons' the Hollywood types are so enamored of. As if wearing a ribbon on your tux at the Oscars actually helps an AIDS patient somewhere. Purchasing carbon offsets may seem like a tradeoff, but they're not- it just enables polluters.






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