The idea of personal carbon offsets is proof if proof be needed that the Green movement has passed beyond rational argument and become a religion.
The idea that you can offset your carbon sins if you pay someone to plant a tree is touching.
Wherever or whatever this tree is up to you can fly with abandon around the world and drive anywhere you want.
You see dear sinner of the great sins of carbon you have that most recyclable and sustainable thing in the world. You have money.
Money to spend on your environmental salvation, to soothe your conscience at your unsustainable venality.
And those without money, who only have enough to pay the fare and not enough for the luxery to pay for the offset of the wilful carbon emissions of the jet engines well you can regard them as evil and environmentally incarnate.
Plainly they should walk or stay at home.
The whole notion resembles nothing so much as the Roman Catholic system of indulgences decried by Martin Luther in the middles ages.
The Australian carried a story about a nice person in Sydney who paid $600 to offset her carbon emissions for a year. The pope abolished Limbo the other week . Purgatory can't be far behind on Benny's list. But for the sinners against the environment the costs are mounting and just beginning.
Heresy can't be far behind. It will be no time before braying mobs of environmental zealots drag the climate deniers from their home and take them to the stake. The only problem is that the heretics cannot be burnt. Damn carbon, stuffs everywhere.
And in time as the dark thought strikes the faithful that 5% of human breath is carbon dioxide then expect trouble. All you heavy breathers had better suck it in mate.
Calls will go forth for whole towns to make the sacrifice and stop breathing for 5 minutes to help the planet.
What I want to know is - if all the trouble is being caused by these CO2 particles, these 350 per million what are the other 999750 particles up to.
What are these bunch of losers doing in their spare time.
Do they just lie on their backs all 999,750 of them being bossed around by these mere 300 or 400 upstarts. This is the atmosphere we are talking about.
Its big and gaseous and the idea that the other 999700 parts of the million are bystanders and play no part in the great heat exchange after the sun tosses in a few heat particles is an interesting question.
But hey when you have the weather off pat and the forces of climate nailed down for the next two hundred years and some legislation to write which stipulates the behaviours of us, our children and their children's children you have to rush. What is the reality of the situation? Well that can come later.
You see this new religion is one of penance and suffering. There is no bright upland plain where we will find deliverance. No shining future where peace will reign and the poor will be better off.
Nope its sack cloth and no ashes. What is promised is this.
If we can just manage to get the parts per million of Carbon Dioxide back to the magic 250 per million we will keep the climate as it is. (Well the Russians and the English may complain and people in Dunedin miss out on better weather but tough biscuits)
That's it. Keep it as it is. Well maybe you see no one knows if getting it to 250 parts per million will work if its been up to 450 per million but hey thats a detail. But yes what if after 50 years of recession, depression ,wars recessions and different science it does not work?
What if the precautionary principle is a fraud (as it often is)
What if all the sacrifice to get the parts per million from 500 to 250 fails.
What if the climate change has some other cause.
What if the process is already too advanced,
What if half way through the process it is all changed by science, nuclear war, a depression and the goal is abandoned.
Will it have been sensible to embark on a religious endeavour, to determine our future by legislation based on the difference of a few parts per million without investigation of the other 999700 parts of the million of the behaviour of the sun at high altitudes, of real mitigation changes and some of the real benefits of global warming.
The Government can't do half of what it does.
What lunatics put the government in charge of the weather.
It just gives them one more excuse for a tax.