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Page added on November 29, 2006

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Stocking Stuffer for a Green Christmas: The $40 Carbon Credit Gift Pack

Naughty little boys and girls get a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings; green little boys and girls get…carbon credits to take coal gases out of the atmosphere and fight global warming. The Science Museum of London and UK specialty gift retailer are selling the Climate Relief Gift Pack, which includes 100 kilograms (about 220 pounds) worth of carbon credits bought on the European carbon trading market, known as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The market helps European countries meet their obligations under the Kyoto Accord by setting greenhouse gas emission limits and then requiring corporations that exceed that cap to purchase credits from those companies that have lowered their emissions. In other words, by purchasing the Climate Relief Gift Pack – retailing for

Therein lies a business opportunity: personal carbon trading products have been proliferating like coal-fired power plants in China, often confusing enviro-minded citizens about which are legitimate carbon offset services and which are just green-fleecing schemes. What’s needed is someone to create a certification program to give a green seal of approval to legitimate personal carbon trading services and to roll up these various programs.

The cynical take is that buying carbon credits lets consumers assuage their green guilt without changing their lifestyle in ways that actually reduce their own everyday greenhouse gas emissions – like trading the Landcruser for a Prius, downsizing from a McMansion, replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, or even turning off the laptop when its not in use. The more charitable view is that personal carbon credits raise consumer consciousness, and when bought from bona fide organizations like the European carbon market, do indeed help combat global warming.

Green Wombat

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