Thursday, March 15, 2007

Edwards '08 Goes Carbon Neutral

Along with Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who has since dropped out of the race, Edwards gets on board the Carbon-neutral train:
Stumping in NC 3/13, Edwards pledged to run a "carbon neutral" campaign. Speaking to a crowd of college students at Bennett College" in Greensboro, NC, Edwards "urged all Americans to help reduce" their emissions. Edwards: "It's time for the president of the United States to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war." Edwards "said his campaign will consult with experts to calculate its total carbon emissions -- covering everything from his" travel to the energy used at his HQ. Along with taking a series of steps to improve its energy efficiency, the campaign will buy carbon offsets." Before dropping out of the race, Tom Vilsack also made a carbon neutral pledge. Vilsack "said his campaign would offset its carbon dioxide production" by paying a VT "company that invests in renewable fuels such as wind power. Edwards plans to work with the same company."

This is tremendous news as the amount of carbon a Presidential campaign puts out is incredibly high. The amount of air-travel and driving that campaigns do is enormous and offsetting that will be a fabulous undertaking. My only concern is that they do an effective job of tracking down exactly how their offsets will be implemented. Planting mango trees that die within a year due to lack of care is not an offset. The amount of ways we can all get screwed is amazing. Think about it: you pay someone $50,000 to offset your yearly flight travel. In return they say they'll plant some trees, invest in wind companies and start a bio-diesel company. Only, they don't. The bottom line is, if you're going to go carbon-neutral, realize two things:

  1. Its not really the silver bullet solution to emissions so treat it as a bridge to what's next.
  2. You can get screwed by the hundreds of different "schemes" out there that aren't really doing anything, or are ill-equipped to handle your demands, so don't be afraid to thrown on your investigative hat when hunting for carbon offset companies.

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