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Adam Stein's Posts


Greenpeace finds common ground with Inhofe

Why are environmental activists so clueless at marketing climate change solutions?

Virgin Blue, the Australian extension of Richard Branson's airline empire, recently launched a program to allow passengers to purchase carbon offsets when they book a flight. That's nice. But what struck me was this quote from Greenpeace's energy campaigner, Ben Pearson: Virgin should not be criticized out of hand for this scheme, but it promotes the idea that dealing with climate change is easy and cheap rather than being about the difficult task of changing consumer behavior, government policy and investment. Let's take the Pepsi Challenge. Pretend I just told you that I have a problem that I'd like your …


Would Adam Smith buy green power?

Carbon offsets make for strange bedfellows

I sometimes joke that the one environmental topic that unites the far right and far left is a distate for carbon offsets. This, I should stress, is a joke -- overly broad, unfairly general, etc., etc.* But it is the case that the topic of carbon offsets occasionally makes for strange bedfellows. The fake controversy over Al Gore's carbon footprint is a case in point. TerraPass recently had the pleasure of being featured on Glenn Beck's CNN program (Glenn Beck of Al Gore = Hitler fame).** We were declared a crock by Sean Hannity, and we were denounced by none …

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Putting a price tag on nature

Environmentalism’s confusing accounting

The L.A. Times published an interesting if somewhat odd piece in last week's magazine about efforts to coax the business community into loving the environment by assigning a dollar value to our natural resources, or "ecosystem services." So, for example, we learn that dung beetles provide $380 million of waste management services to the U.S. cattle industry. One mile of coastal wetland provides $2.4 million of storm protection. A nice fern is worth $4, or you can get 3 for $9.99. I made up the last one. The odd part of the article is that it wraps together these efforts …


More myths about carbon offsets

Setting some facts straight about the future of carbon regulation in the U.S.

Gar Lipow offers up his latest critique of carbon offsets, which this time is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the underlying science of greenhouse gases. The story, for those following along at home, can be summarized thusly: Gar feels that carbon offsets are, among other things, the "enemy of the human race." I feel that offsets are an interesting policy option with kinks to be worked out. The kinks are not nearly so fundamental or intractable as some would have you believe. The following discussion gets a bit dense, but it's also highly instructive, so I recommend soldiering through …

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