On the surface this appears merely as the latest example to be filed under the thick liberal folder titled “Do as I say, not as I do.” Socialist Vermont Senator (and erstwhile Presidential candidate) Bernie Sanders is reporting that he spent $300,000 on private jet travel during the month of October. Ironically, he was stopping at major Congressional Campaign sites to tell people how terrible Climate Change was and how everyone needed to get on board to make major lifestyle changes to appease the Climate Gods. This is akin to going 130 mph on the Interstate while warning about the dangers of reckless driving.
Again, this shocking level of in-your-face hypocrisy is standard fare with modern-day liberals. Indeed, it is noteworthy when one does NOT engage in this type of behavior. Much like you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs, you apparently cannot reduce carbon emissions without emitting a lot a carbon.
What caught my attention from this story was the Sanders Campaign’s attempt to not merely justify the obvious hypocrisy—but to absolve it as well. Arianna Jones, senior communications adviser for Friends of Bernie Sanders, said the campaign purchased carbon credits to support renewable energy projects and invest in carbon reduction projects to balance out emissions produced from travel. She said the campaign paid $4,980.00 to NativeEnergy for carbon offsets.
So who or what is “NativeEnergy,” this wonderful and mysterious entity that possesses the power of carbon forgiveness? According to their website, NativeEnergy is “the leading carbon offset provider for both individuals and businesses. Our progressive carbon offset programs do more than conventional offsets.” Basically they are a consulting firm that helps corporations with their sustainability programs. Sounds innocuous enough. But they also offer you a chance to purchase “Carbon Credits.”
Clicking on that link, the user is told they can “Reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing NativeEnergy carbon offsets.” Really? Are these magical talismen who can gobble up CO2 on the fly? Well, not really. Basically there are investments in the company’s research and philanthropic projects. They tell us, ” With carbon offsets, you can counteract your personal carbon footprint by helping build clean energy and carbon-reducing projects.” So for every mile you pile up on that Lear, NativeEnergy will install water filters in Ethiopia. Will that successfully counteract the jet fuel you’ve been burning like autumn leaves? Well, who knows? But at least you can sleep at night, right?
This is not an original idea. The Medieval Catholic Church called these things, “indulgences.” The original intent of indulgences was merely to offer sinners a chance to reconcile their sins before God and spend a few less days in purgatory. But it quickly developed into quite the cottage industry. Eventually, violators of the Catholic Church dogma could wash their sins away with indulgences…money that the Church would use—most assuredly—to counteract the sin committed by the purchaser. They allowed the sinner to keep on sinning, knowing that his capital expense outlay was keeping him on good terms with the Almighty. When the meter ran out, you bought more indulgences.
Today, violators of the Church of Climate Change dogma can wash their carbon-emitting sins away with money used to purchase “Carbon Credits.” Feeling pangs of guilt over that nine-city/seven-day tour where you told people they were going to have to eat less red meat in order to assuage Gaia? No sweat. A few carbon credits and you can gas the G-4 up, turn the AC up to full blast, and head off to another junket!
I must admit, this is a hell of a business model for NativeEnergy and those companies who have been vested by the Earth God with the power to issue Carbon Credits. “Come sinners! Repent now! A generous amount of Carbon Offsets will act as the blood of the lamb, washing your carbon sins away!”
But it is NOT a religion, right?
Now I feel sure that theological experts specializing in Catholic doctrinal purity will gleefully point out some interpretive mistakes I made in describing indulgences. I look forward to their “ACKSHUALLY” analysis. The idea is to tie in the notion that one’s badness can be ameliorated, if not flat-out forgiven, so long as the check clears. In both cases, the self-appointed Gatekeepers of God will gladly accept credit cards as well.