Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Guilt, Carbon trading & Sundries

"Nothing is more wretched than the mind of a man, conscious of guilt"...Titus Maccius Plautus

Guilt is indeed a wretched thing. About 6 years ago, I thought buying a SUV was the cool thing to do. I was a moron then. (I probably am still). So I bought one. Mind you, I did not buy one of those mammoths. I bought a mini SUV, built on a sedan chassis, with just four cylinders and 146 HP. However mini it might be, a SUV is a SUV; fuel wasted is fuel wasted; global warming is global warming

Automobile emissions contribute to 25% of CO2 emissions in the US. A car produces about 9,000 lbs of CO2 every year.

Ever since I have gone green, my SUV has been a constant source of guilt.That is probably why I have fewer comparative miles on it. Compared to the national driving average, I drove the car about 30,000 miles less. On several occasions, I contemplated trading it in for a Toyota Prius. Good intensions aside, Prius is expensive, way over my current economic ability, has a 6 month wait period and thanks to the high demand, the dealers squeeze every dime of premium out of you. If I ever buy a new car, Prius will be the one. Then again... Time, Tide and Guilt waits for no one.

It was is by chance that I surfed an article on Karl Ulrich. He is a professor at University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. He too was suffering from guilt driving his Ford pickup on weekends between Philadelphia and Vermont. This guilt led him to the idea of Kyoto for cars. A few brain storming sessions later (with his MBA students) , terraPass was born

The basic idea is for car drivers to offset the CO2 emissions of their cars for about $50 - 80 a year. No selling or modifying cars. The money is invested in clean air projects, renewable energy initiatives and finances projects that reduce industrial CO2 emissions. Till date terrapass claims to have saved 12,942,000 lbs of CO2

To me terrapass made and makes perfect sense. So... Sign up, I did. A little rid off guilt, I have. Waiting for my terrapass decals and happy, I am.

Quotes of the day
"Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving" ... Erma Bombeck
"We are almost always guilty of the hate we encounter" ...Vauvenargues
"Without the spice of guilt, sin cannot be fully savored"... Alexander Chase
"Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do" ... Voltaire
"Things in law tend to be black and white. But we all know that some people are a little bit guilty, while other people are guilty as hell" ... Somebody
"Successful guilt is the bane of society"... Publilius Syrus


garnet said...

nice blog. yeah, i'm torn between the car of my dreams, not an SUV but a gas guzzler, and a nice, efficient, boring car. guilt...

I like the guilt quotes.

keep it up. i'll be back.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if terrapass gives people the right to behave irresponsibly ?

One More Reason said...

Dear Anonymous,
terrapass is in no way a license to misbehave. In fact it instills a sense of responsibility. terrapass is all about common sense and being practical. People cannot just throw away their cars.

Deepak said...

One more quote, from /usr/games/fortune:
'The way to guilt-free living is to assume always the other guy is wrong when you have to lie.'

Chris said...

Hey, great blog! I'll be back.
(found you throught Jennifer's blog, btw)

Regarding Terrapass, I think it's difficult to see the net benefit to this program (aside from guilt relief)... are the companies who exceed set expectations in emissions reaping all the benefits? I'm curious if they (such companies) are then incentivized to continue making improvements to everyone's benefits. I'll check into this more though, because I've only just heard about this last week on NPR (then, from reading this blog).

I own one of the WORST SUV's (at least it's new and doesn't blow blue smoke)... but we're a family of 9, so per-person the pollution level is much better than driving around in two or three sedans. So we try to use the SUV only when needed (hauling kids, or hauling trailors). But why can't we find a good fuel-efficient BUS anywhere for us large families?!

I used to work as a researcher in the field of air quality at one of the leading academic schools in that field. It was fascinating work. We would take fine porus filters from all the national parks across the country and shoot lasers and particle beams at them to determine what crap was in the air, and how much. I looked at carbon soot. That was in the 80's... it would be interesting to compare results with today and see if things are getting better or worse.


One More Reason said...


Thank you and Thank you for taking the time and reading through.

I would be very interested in what you find out about terrapass. Your past experience in the field of air quality would greatly help.

A family of 9! sounds like a party 24x7 :) Hope you guys are having fun.