Carbon indulgence

I was reading yet another article on carbon offsetting the other day; on one level it is good to see people taking some responsibility for their environmental impact. On the other hand giving a token amount to some company to ‘offset’ the damage your long haul trip for your expensive holiday in Barbados doesn’t actually undo the damage and from a lot of the reports it looks like many of the companies taking money for this sort of thing do bugger all that could be considered helpful to the environment, but it does make wealthy but guilty-feeling folks feel better about themselves. And that’s when I realised what these were: buying carbon offsetting is the 21st century equivalent of the old buying of religious indulgences. Buy a clean conscience and purer soul; done wrong? Spend for salvation. Several centuries later and the same old trick repeats, with worried folks seeking to use the wealth that helped create a problem to assuage their conscience while the descendants of those priests are only too happy to promise them pardons for a reasonable donation. The more things change, the more they stay the same.