Its just too simple to do: Less oil burned would be more greenhouse gas reduction. Period. "I can afford not to suffer, I can pay to spare myself any inconvenience." is the simple retort but it is not voiced at an honest volume, not while there are shell games for greenhouse gasses.
The New York Times takes a quick survey of experts on the legitimacy of claimed benefits for the environment and all but calls the whole carbon offsets market a sham. The best quote in the article hits at the heart of why we are stalling: human inertia and the pathetic habit of confusing what you have with what you are.
Michael R. Solomon, the author of “Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having and Being” and a professor at Auburn University, said he was not surprised by the allure of the carbon-offsetting market.There is not much beside curmudgeonhood that I have in common with Boston Globe Columnist, Alex Beam but when he rails against transferring to others the onus of any task or responsibility we ought to share just because we can afford to, I sympathize. Any solution Milton Friedman would approve of warrants severe scrutiny for its effects on the weakest players in the market, especially when the weakest of those players is actually the weather. The weather will hurt the poorest of us the worst. The people who put the most money in their pocket as a consequence of enabling us all to dirty the skies should not be allowed to buy their way out of the mess using the money we have made...that is potentially a runaway positive feedback of power. Until pollution credits are mandatory and costly enough to be punitive they are a smokescreen for business as usual.
“Consumers are always going to gravitate toward a more parsimonious solution that requires less behavioral change,” he said. “We know that new products or ideas are more likely to be adopted if they don’t require us to alter our routines very much.”
But he said there was danger ahead, “if we become trained to substitute dollars for deeds — kind of an ‘I gave at the office’ prescription for the environment.”