Water Week

EWN Publishing

Around $300 can render a large family household “carbon neutral” for a year; but author questions the real price

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

Rather than changing your lifestyle, there was another way to clear your conscience about the size of your carbon footprint: via your wallet and carbon offsets, reported The Australian (15/9/2007, p.1).

Selling savings back to consumers: For around $300 companies such as Easy Being Green could render a large family household “carbon neutral” for a year. This equated to reducing the amount of CO2 pollution a home produced by nearly 15 tonnes. Other companies in this space included the Carbon Reduction Institute and Neco. These companies undertook energy efficient projects and installed energy-saving technologies — such as compact fluorescent light globes and water-saving showerheads — into homes and businesses across the country. Easy Being Green offers energy-efficient light globes, installed in homes free of charge, via its website. Each of these globes is then calculated as providing 15,000 hours of energy-saving light that will cut CO2 pollution by 900kg in its lifetime. The company is then authorised to sell that 900kg saving back to customers for $20 through any one of its carbon-neutral packages (it offers a $297.15 package for a 4+ person family home). Devilishly clever and everyone wins, including the planet — or does it?

Consumers buy clean consciences: As George Monbiot, author of Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning has said: “Any scheme that persuades us we can carry on polluting delays the point at which we grasp the nettle of climate change and accept that our lives have to change… By selling us a clean conscience, the offset companies are undermining the necessary political battle to tackle climate change at home. They are telling us we don’t need to be citizens; we need only to be better consumers.”

Reference: Easy Being Green: http://www.easybeinggreen.com.au
Carbon Reduction Institute:
http://www.noco2.com.au
Neco: http://www.neco.com.au

The Australian, 15/9/2007, p. 1

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