Sins of emission
And where does it end once you believe sins can be bought? Could you, for instance, get away with robbing Peter to pay Paul? Now don't get me wrong, I am all in favour of environmental reform and certainly don't need convincing that the current situation is one that will have us all eating soylent green by the year 2050, I just didn't realise we could buy our way out.
All of this guilt assuagement reminds me of an article in the FT (which I 'offset' with a read of Hello) a few months back about the sale of indulgences by the Catholic church in the early 16th century, whereby people could, in effect, purchase forgiveness of past sins by handing over enough money. Needless to say Martin Luther was not impressed, so why are we? Since when did we accept that the ability to buy retrospective forgiveness for sins of emission is a substitute for not sinning in the first place? Or put another way: the amount of sinning in Catholic Europe did not diminish with the invention of indulgences.
Sorry, Tony Blair, your Miami vice guilt is irrelevant: surely the only thing that should matter in offset schemes is that emissions are cut. By making the issue political you are allowing people to discredit an approach that deserves to be taken seriously. Now that really is a sin.
To check your carbon footprint click here. For cheap deals on designer holidays click here. Which will you choose?