One of the discussion groups that Eli follows recently linked to a survey on conference travel and carbon offsets. Rather than swamping the survey, Rabett labs will simply put up the questions and Eli's answers. See what your take is. A large part of the issue is that the bunny would be a lot happier paying a surcharge that was imposed on everyone for travel to cover the externality of carbon pollution than volunteer. This is part of his prejudice against free riders and frankly Jean Jacques Rousseau was full of crap and so is Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman.
All the questions have the usual five point scales,
- I'll die for that,
- Seems good to me,
- You gotta be kidding and
- Over my dead body
1. Do you feel that CO2 offsets make a difference?
2. How large or small of a difference do you feel that CO2 offsets make?3. What alternative(s) do you propose to CO2 offsets, if applicable? (essay only)4. Would you be willing to pay money from a grant or other funding source to offset the CO2 used on your business-related travels?5. If you could not be reimbursed for CO2 offset expenses, would you be willing to pay out of your own pocket?
Eli's answers were
1. Somewhat (2) They would only become significant if applied universally
2. Somewhat (2)
3. Eli Rabett's simple plan to save the world
4. No (5), this would be a large fiduciary stretch
5. Definitely (1), Eli intends to do so (1) since thinking about the survey.
6. No, see answer to 4, however the conference fees could be used to buy offsets for the conference activities themselves. That's a lot of hot air for most conferences
7. Eli needs to go look for offsets that benefit developing countries who are experiencing costs due to climate change.
To understand Eli's position on why it would be much better to have mandatory charges reigning in the free market fairy we have this amusing take
The Free Market Fairy is invoked to solve all problems with no explanation given for its wondrous powers, just look at the magical incantation: highlight a problem, invoke free markets, and poof, out pops the desired result. The most important aspect of the Free Market Fairy is that it is magical, with magical devices having three hallmarks; they work outside normal physics, they are outside science (they may be invoked by mere muggles but can never be comprehended by them), and finally they have intent (either good or evil).What works is a combination of regulation taxation and social pressure such as killed off plastic bags in Ireland.
In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts.
Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.
“When my roommate brings one in the flat it annoys the hell out of me,” said Edel Egan, a photographer, carrying groceries last week in a red backpack.