I really worry sometimes about things like The New York Times Magazine giving advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only are these kind of "personal virtue" efforts insufficient to tackling the challenge of global warming, I think talking about them too much is actually counterproductive. The calculations involved in figuring out the aggregate carbon impact of this or that are just far too difficult for anyone to carry out. What's more, it's generally not going to be possible for a single person through his or her own exertions to really bring about dramatic cuts, and the last thing you need is people sitting around thinking "I drive a Prius, I've done my part" and then not voting the right way or otherwise being disengaged from the political process.

Beyond all that, the market in trendy "green" products has certain counterproductive effects -- it creates a profitable niche market in expensive green-branded goods that most people can't afford and lowers the price of carbon-intensive goods. But in a fundamental sense, the only way to make a green economy work is to make carbon-intensive goods expensive not render them stigmatized and uncool, which should, in tandem, help spur the development of more sustainable alternatives for a not-particularly-cool-or-trendy mass market.