I just received confirmation for my upcoming trip and found that I could assuage my conscience by "offsetting my trip's carbon emissions."
I'll have someone plant some trees for me. For $10, I could offset the carbon of a trip that included air travel, a one-night stay at a hotel and a rental car for one person. If I paid $40, I could equalize the effects of air travel, a four-night hotel stay and a rental car for four people.
What difference a rental car with one or four people in it makes, I have no idea, and I don't dare ask. I would only receive some wacky explanation that would depress me. Since I had no guilt associated with the damage I would be causing, I chose not to throw my money away.
It's getting a little too crazy out there. The global-warming cultists (forgive me if the latest politically correct term is climate change) want me to change my entire lifestyle to suit their desires.
They don't care a bit when their false prophet, Al Gore, jets all over world strutting and preening and delivering his message.
His 10,000 or so disciples, when they held their climate change conference in Bali, spewed forth an estimated 100,000 tons of carbon, including 48,000 tons of it in air travel. Why didn't they video-conference instead? Why didn't they hold their party in Antarctica instead of tropical Bali?
Why don't the big guys and Hollywood characters practice what they preach? They live in their 10,000-square-foot homes, drive their limos, fly their private jets and live an opulent lifestyle while they expect us to drive around cheap little cars, grow our own food and bike or walk to work.
Can you define hypocrisy any better than that? But they have assured us it's OK for them to continue like this because they have paid to offset their "carbon footprint." Isn't that another neat phrase they have coined? I'll wait until they lead by example. What's wrong with their lessening their carbon footprint by flying tourist class, getting rid of their limos, downsizing their homes, etc., and still planting all the little trees? I guarantee you won't ever see that happening.
Also, some of the potential solutions they have are just plain crazy. Sheryl Crow wants us all to use just one square of toilet tissue when we use the bathroom.
A mayor in the town of Great Barrington, Mass., wants us to turn off all Christmas lights (oops, he said holiday lights) by 10 p.m. Does that equal the carbon emissions from the Hollywood celebrities' private jets flying into Aspen for the weekend?
We're also supposed to raise a cow and have our own garden. It would be fun to see everyone in a NYC apartment with a garden in the living room and a cow in the spare bedroom. Just remember, common sense and practicality don't get in the way of these "thinkers." A great book to read is "Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years" by S. Fred Singer. In it, he points out that the science in Gore's movie is shoddy at best, and then proceeds to back up his claims.
The global warming advocates and their sophisticated models "can't explain the Medieval Warm Period from 900-1300 and then the Little Ice Age from 1500-1800, to say nothing of the countless number of cooling and warming cycles before these two examples.
Then there is a great BBC documentary, "The Great Global Warming Swindle." It might still be on YouTube, but it has been on TV and is on DVD. Maybe all the schools that had their students watch Gore's movie should get to watch this DVD.
I should touch briefly on the emotional strategy that is used when their facts are weak. Everything has been blamed on global warming _ wildfires, Darfur(!) and dying polar bears. Barbara Boxer said global warming was to blame for a poor 14-year-old boy who died from "an infection caused after swimming in Lake Havasu" (warmer water, you see). Who needs facts?
And because their findings and defenses are weak, they don't allow any debate. They claim consensus. These reasons are always used when an argument can be convincingly attacked.
So listen, people. Use common sense. Don't believe all the catastrophic things that might happen. Remember, they have been wrong many times before and will be many more times in the future.
Just remember, you have lots of prominent scientists on your side. You don't have to go on any guilt trip. Be a good steward of the planet, but what you are doing now has in no way a significant impact on global warming. Man is not to blame for global warming.
Tom Sears is a professor of accounting at Hartwick College in Oneonta. He can be reached at SearsT@hartwick.edu. His column appears every other week.