Curiosity is terminal

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Help Me Out Here

So I am wondering if one of my four* readers can help me out?

I am trying to understand this nonsense about the Pacific Carbon Trust, and the notion of carbon offsets.  

As I understand it, a carbon offset is money paid by a polluter to a non polluter to keep not polluting, or possibly to some person or business to do some green thing like put a scrubber on a smokestack or plant a tree.

And the Pacific Carbon Trust is some kind of an exchange for these offsets?  So schools and hospitals are supposed to give the trust money so that  businesses like pulpmills can replace polluting equipment?

To editorialize that question: And the Pacific Carbon Trust is some kind of an exchange (or racket?) for these offsets?  So schools and hospitals (which have no income) are supposed to give the trust money so that businesses like pulpmills (which have quite a bit of income) can replace polluting equipment?

Maybe I will just disclose this:  I happen to live across the street from a hospital.  While I cannot possibly tell you how much energy it consumes, though I would guess it to be a lot, I can tell you that it does not seem to be a great provider of atmospheric pollution.  Likewise the two schools that are five blocks from me, one east and one west.  I also happen to live in a nice little geographic bowl, surrounding which are three pulpmills, three chemical plants and an oil refinery.  Let me tell you, they are definitely providers of atmospheric pollution.  People here in Atmon have been known to speak of the smell of money.  One of those mills was the recipient of a very very large amount of money with which to replace a big part of the mill last year.   When the prevailing winds are just right, and the clouds are just right,  our little hamlet still smells right "rich" if you get my drift.

I suppose I can kind of see that if I plant a tree, it might possibly "offset" the carbon emissions of my natural gas furnace, although I wonder how many trees it might actually take.  But this trust business I don't get.  I think it was supposed to help BC and its people, but if it takes tax money from schools and hospitals (which do not generate income) and gives it to privately owned companies (which are presumably turning profits), how does that benefit BC and it's people?

If someone can explain this to me I would be grateful.  I feel a little funny asking, because, well, it looks to me like the emperor is naked.  And that can't be right can it?

*I actually have 5 readers, but one of them lives in my house and we have talked about it, and we agreed that we didn't understand it.


  1. I don't have an answer, but you can count me among your readers.

    1. Thanks for the comment, laura k. I like your blog a lot.