Carbon Offsets

Megan McArdle makes the obviously correct point that CO2 offsets are basically nonsense because of measurement problems.  I'm a lot more cynical about human nature.  If I were a businessman in any developing country, I would simply start building low-cost CO2 generating devices, and then start selling the 'offset' of turning them off.


The advantage of this to the developed world is that since the idea is so obvious, lots of other people would do the same, and this would drive the price of offsets down.  Of course, some cost would be created by the need to disguise this at least a little bit (e.g., embed the generator within some actual production facility, do it by buying a negative cash flow existing factory, etc.).  This would lead to a requirement, I assume, for government certification by the host government.  So really the cost structure would be the bribes required to get the government to certify my offset.  This would create the price umbrella for the market.  Once all the middlemen are accounted for, it would also make clear what the whole offset business really is - a way to bribe influential members of third-world government to go along with the cap-and-trade fiasco.

Presented by

Jim Manzi

Jim Manzi is Founder and Chairman of Applied Predictive Technologies (APT), an applied artificial intelligence software company. He is In also a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a Contributing Editor of National Review, where he writes frequently for both the print and online editions on topics related to science, technology, business and economics.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In