Today's question comes to us from one Jacob Leibenluft via Slate via Lucianne: "Are carbon offsets worth it?"
Well Jacob, the simple answer is no. The less simple answer is ... what are you, some kind of idiot !?! Of course they're not worth it. Any nine year old could tell you that.
No that's not quite right, carbon offsets are worth it to a certain species of sharp operator of the type common to street corners offering Rolexes for cheap, and also often seen in the private offices of legislators offering to brighten re-election prospects for not so cheap.
But for the rest of us?
Jacob, try this test: Go up to the above mentioned nine year old and tell him that his farts are fouling the atmosphere and causing much distress among the gentry. After he finishes high-fiving his buds, offer to offset his crude humor for the small cost of one dollar... "Say kid, yeah you, come over here a second. That was some rancid fart you just made, but I'll tell you what... for just one thin dollar, I'll see to it that a professional comedian in the controlled setting of a real comedy club does an entire routine that mentions deadly methane not once, and that will offset your fart. One dollar kid, how can you go wrong?"
Bets on whether you get the dollar or a GPS enabled ankle bracelet?
Jacob, if you can't get a nine year old to fall for some magic bean scheme, what adult is addled enough to fork over their hard earned dough on a cheesy con like carbon offsets?
Wait a minute let's see what you wrote...
Above all, use common sense. The whole rationale behind carbon offsets is that worthy efforts to stop global warming cost money, so if you find a provider selling at a cut-rate price, be careful. The Lantern would be very cautious about spending his own green on a provider who sells offsets at much less than $10 per metric ton of CO2-equivalent. You may be able to buy atonement for your carbon sins, but it won't come cheap.
Since you won't by carbon offsets for less than ten bucks a ton- (no... no.. Mr. Used Car Salesman, no way will I give you fifteen hundred bucks on this Yugo you're selling, you'll take five thousand and not a penny less! Alright, six thousand but only if you flatten the tires... heh, that'll teach you to mess with me.)... tell ya what I'm gonna do Jake - I'll offset tons and tons of the frightful greenhouse gas, and not for ten dollars a ton, not for twenty, nope.. I'll do it for one million dollars a ton - cash, small bills, non-sequential serial numbers, sent to P.O. Box...