It was a memorable moment when Leonardo and Al Gore proclaimed that the Oscar was going green. That baffled me then. What the heck were these guys talking about? One could see all the wastage happening during the ceremony . And, I was quite irritated when I saw the director of “Inconvenient Truth” glorifying Gore. It sucked big time. Anyway, this morning my questions were answered, courtesy of Business Week. It is called “carbon offset”. During the Oscar ceremonies,all the presenters, participants were given a certificate( much like a gift certificate) of carbon offsets. These “carbon offsets” are sold by a company called Terrapass ( a profit organization), who sell “carbon offsets”. What is carbon offset, you may ask. Basically, we are offseting the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by some means like recycling , converting them to less harmful gases etc. So, companies like TerraPass sell these and themselves buy it from environment – friendly organizations like Waste Management, Dairy Farms etc who employ various techniques of recycling etc. For ex, Waste Management works on all the trash mounds and converts the methane (which is more harmful than CO2) to Co2 , thereby reducing environment pollution. Now, Terrapass gives them money for their equipments, operations , buys “carbon offsets” @ some price x, sells it to Oscar committee @ y, making money in the process. Now Oscar committee has bought enough carbon offsets to suffice their guilt for one year.
Another example given was of a Dairy Farmer who gets $2 for one carbon offset , the same offset for which Terrapass charges $9 . Some cuts go in between to a broker who introduced Terrapass to the farmer. One carbon offset is equivalent to one ton of CO2 or equivalent of methane. From the Oscar cermonies, the amount went to Waste Management who were already environment conscious and this money was more like an icing on the cake.If you want to be free of any guilt, if you feel guilty at all , its time to buy carbon offsets. Many companies proclaim they have become carbon neutral by buying carbon offsets equivalent to their carbon release..
Thinking about Terrapass, the CEO is 30 yr old from Wharton and I really admire him for finding a neat way of making money. Some would call it an honorable job.:-)
Personally, I am not interested in carbon offsets as I dont accept the global warming funda whole heartedly and I don’t care.
Another interesting link I came across during my blog reads