Frank Pastore

See, in the liberal mind, it’s better to “care” about a problem than it is to actually solve it. Whether it’s poverty, racism, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, illegal immigration, public education, the threat from radical Islam or nearly any other problem we face, liberals would rather make the effort to convince you how much they can empathize and “feel your pain,” than they would to actually do the hard work of implementing policies to fix the problems or reduce the threats.


Last week, in a great article in the Los Angeles Times entitled “Can You Buy a Greener Conscience?,” author Alan Zarembo exposed how the whole voluntary carbon offset scam works by profiling one of the leading companies in the offset business, Native Energy. It’s an exposé on the need for governmental regulation of the budding industry.

Basically, Native Energy is a middleman that buys offsets from places like wind farms and methane farms, for say $2.00 to $4.00 a ton, and then they turn around and sell those offsets to the public at “market price,” which is usually between $9.00 to $15.00 a ton. So far, so good.

The problem is, Native Energy is only buying a small portion of these alternative energy suppliers but they’re declaring a benefit as though they bought the whole thing. They buy a 1 percent piece of the action but claim 100 percent of the benefit.

That’s like buying 1 percent of a race horse and keeping 100 percent of the winnings. Not good.

Furthermore, Native Energy is buying little pieces of companies that are already designed and financed, then acting as though their investment was critical to the whole operation.

The offsets they sell aren’t making, creating, or saving anything additional. That wind farm or methane plant was going to get built anyway—with or without the sale of their offsets. So, in reality, buying offsets from Native Energy does nothing to benefit the environment—just as buying indulgences do nothing to benefit your soul.

But, none of this is about reality, anyway. It’s all about caring, and compassion, and green guilt.

Take it from someone who knows.

Zarembo includes a quote from Davis Guggenheim, director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” who says this about the selling of voluntary carbon offsets: “It’s a powerful first step … The choice of doing this rather than nothing is not a choice … All of us knew when you’re doing offsets that the theoretical and symbolic quality to doing this is as important as the practical quality.”

The symbolic is as important as the practical? That’s liberalspeak at it’s finest.

We have to “Do something!”

Since their founding, Native Energy has sold about 1 million tons of CO2 offsets. At, say, an average of $10 a ton, that’s a lot of “something.”

So, the clearest thing that has been done through the sale of offsets is the rise of a very profitable, middleman industry capitalizing on guilt.

Too bad it’s not “doing something!” to actually reduce a single carbon footprint.

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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