Frank Pastore

There are some things you just gotta do yourself. Someone else can’t lose your weight, quit your addiction, parent your kids, or confess your sins.

You have to do it.

And, just as you can’t buy indulgences that allow you to go right on sinning without any consequences, you can’t buy carbon offsets that allow you to go right on polluting without any consequences, either.

Neither God nor science works that way.

Yet, the selling of “voluntary carbon offsets”—eco-indulgences—is a $55 million per year industry, involving over three dozen companies worldwide. Total sales are anticipated to double both this year and next, and entrepreneurs are clamoring all over themselves for a piece of the action.

And it’s all a scam.

Yes, the money is very real, but the alleged benefits to the environment are fake.

Paying someone to plant a tree to “offset” the carbon footprint of your SUV is just plain silly. Yet there are thousands of people spending real money on these kind of indulgences every day. Why?

The answer is that it’s part green guilt, part eco-extortion, and part just plain novelty—like those pet rocks, mood rings, and Magic 8 Balls from the ’70s. People want to brag to their friends about how eco-sensitive they are. Which, of course, is part of the whole green guilt, eco-extortion thing.

The dictionary defines extortion as “the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.”

What is the “force” used to pressure people into wasting their money on carbon offsets?

It’s called “green guilt,” and it’s the peer pressure generated by people like Algore and The Live Earth Hystericals (see here) to “Do something!” about the “threat” of catastrophic, man-made global warming.

Of course, he and his green buddies aren’t going to stop living their giant carbon footprint lifestyles, which is why they came up with the whole scam of selling you a voluntary carbon offset—which is simply a self-imposed, guilt-motivated pollution tax.

So, you give them your money, and they tell you it’s okay to feel good about yourself because you’re “Doing something!” about global warming. It’s almost like a bad late-night infomercial slogan: “Got green guilt? Wanna do something to fight global warming? Can’t attend one of our Live Earth concerts? Buy an offset!”

Frank Pastore

The Frank Pastore Show is heard in Los Angeles weekday afternoons on 99.5 KKLA and on the web at, and is the winner of the 2006 National Religious Broadcasters Talk Show of the Year. Frank is a former major league pitcher with graduate degrees in both philosophy of religion and political philosophy.
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