Re: [asa] Carbon Offsets for the Elite (or, How the Wealthy Adapt to Warming)

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Sun Mar 04 2007 - 15:31:26 EST

Rich and others

Al Gore's message that climate warming is generally correct (in some
places over the top as we have discussed on list) however, as an
non-scientist activest/popularizer his actions leave him with little or
no credibility IMHO. If you don't walk the walk then your talk is
useless. I absolutely would not want or trust someone like him helping
to set policy in this area.

One article that I read indicated that Gore was in the process of
switching to compact fluorescent bulbs. Big deal! In his case that
probably will not save much as given the size of his bills he must use a
lot of power for none lighting purposes. I can't remember when I
finished switching our house to mostly fluorescent bulbs (except for
those on dimmers) but it was 4 or 5 years ago. In fact once LEDs become
reasonably available, they will be used for background room light as
they save another 5 or 6 times.

Reducing consumption of fossil fuel must be a factor in any plan for
remediation not just carbon offsets as well as reducing total energy
used. Sure the wealthy can always adapt better than my neighbors who
live is subsidized housing. However when the consumption of the rich
appears very excessive compared to even people of average means, then a
voluntary program will not work and in the past considerable social
unrest has occurred.

Carbon offsets to 3rd world countries might in some special cases be
highly useful. I lived in the Great Rift Valley in Ethiopia, the area
was semi desert except near a few small streams. What trees there were
tended to be acacia which is a very hard wood and difficult to cut
especially with primitive tools plus the cattle needed them for shade as
the noon day sun was hot. Some fallen wood was collected for firewood
as well as dung from the animals that sustained the people. If an
alternative method of cooking and heating were made available then it
seems to me this would be a win, maybe not large but a win never the
less. You may wonder why I mention heating? They days were warm (20 to
30C) but the nights were cold (10C range or less) and some heat which
usually came from the cooking fire, was needed first thing in the
morning. Our houses did not need any heat beyond that from the wood
cooking stove, but then there was less air leakage into our buildings.
Leaving the dung to fertilize the poor soil would likely, in the long
term, result in more trees and other vegetation to sequester at least
some carbon. To make such a stove affordable, it would need to sell for
maybe $4.00 US or less and thus both development and manufacture would
need to be subsidized.
Average income in 1984: $190
Average income today: $108
Six million Ethiopians are fed by international aid each year
Annual population rise: 2.7%
Annual topsoil loss: 2.7%

As usual in such cases a small pilot project would be necessary as it is
near impossible to predict what will work and won't work in a different
culture and people group.

Dave W

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Received on Sun Mar 4 15:32:06 2007

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