Sunday, April 27, 2008

One story neatly illustrates some of the absurdity of CO2 hysteria

See the story about Direct Energy exec Phil Tonge here.

The story is apparently supposed to inspire readers to reduce their own emissions of CO2 "pollution", but it's quite clear that Tonge is "greening" his lifestyle a bit only for PR purposes, since his company now sells carbon offsets. Nowhere does he give the slightest indication that he actually believes that CO2 drives climate.

1. As of last year, Tonge was flying 200,000 miles per year, with two SUVs, a 5,200 sq. ft house with 250 conventional lights, a 30-foot living room ceiling, a swimming pool, etc etc. He evidently only considered going a bit "green" when ordered to do so by his boss.

2. After going "green", Tonge will supposedly cut his flying by an unspecified amount, but keep the massive house, the SUVs, the swimming pool, etc.

3. The article states that Tonge could completely "eliminate" his 2008 carbon footprint by spending as little as $300 for (bogus) carbon offsets. It then details some of the hassle and expense ($18,000+) of actually reducing his carbon emissions by some small percentage.

4. The article does an incredibly poor job of selling us on the idea of completely switching to the current crop of "energy-efficient" light bulbs. Tonge's boss admitted "I don't like them". More from the article:
But the biggest challenge so far has been changing the light bulbs.

The Tonge home is professionally decorated in shades of beige and taupe, with silk plants hanging over heavy, traditional furniture. Finding the right compact fluorescent bulbs for all of the 250 lights in the 5,200-square-foot house has been a struggle.

Matching lamps in the master bedroom now have bulbs that give off different colors of light. One bathroom turned out way too bright.

Plus, the new corkscrew-shaped bulbs don't fit into some of the older sockets and traditional-style lamps. So Mr. Tonge had to replace some of the fixtures.

"It does take several trips to the store to get it all," said Mr. Tonge's wife, Cheryl.

She's retired from AT&T Corp., where she met her husband. Recently, she's spent a lot of time waiting for contractors and researching windows.

Then there's the problem of screwing the new bulbs into the 30-foot living room ceiling fixtures. Even with an extension pole, it's tricky to change the bulbs without breaking them.

That makes Mrs. Tonge nervous, especially since the compact fluorescent bulbs contain a tiny amount of mercury and require special cleanup.

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