Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Add to My MSN

California Carbon Offset Program Flounders

11/4/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: carbon emissions, emissions, California, offset

It’s no surprise that Americans don’t want to pay extra on their energy bill—even if that “extra” helps fight climate change. A program offered by California-based Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), which helps customers offset their carbon emissions for a small fee, may be cut at the end of the year, thanks to nearly nonexistent interest in the program

PGE Logo
Photo Courtesy Thomas Hawk 

The program, called ClimateSmart, helps customers calculate the carbon emissions associated with their gas and electricity use and make a tax-deductible donation that allows PG&E to buy carbon offsets. PG&E buys its carbon offsets from a variety of projects, including forest conservation efforts and the capture of methane gas from dairy farms and landfills. 

ClimateSmart has snagged some prominent customers, including eBay, IKEA and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, but general interest in the program has been low. Although PG&E serves 15 million people, only 30,000 customers—or 0.6 percent of those eligible—have enrolled in the program. The unemployment rate in California is at 12 percent, and many households are struggling just to stay on top of bills.

The program is set to expire at the end of this year, and low enrollment numbers could mean the end of ClimateSmart. PG&E officials have appealed to the California Public Utilities Commission to extend the program, but they face strong opposition from the Utility Reform Network (TURN)

TURN officials say the program is not a good deal for customers and should be cut. Although only some customers participate in the program, all PG&E users subsidize the cost through higher rates. So far PG&E has allocated $12 million for marketing and advertising for the program but has collected only $4.5 million from customers. 

What do you think? Have you ever purchased carbon offsets? If not, would you consider it?



Related Content

Geothermal Electricity Picks up Steam

We have the power! If geothermal resources were tapped across the United States, they could provide ...

Carbon Counting Cheat Sheet

It's surprisingly easy to figure out how many carbon dioxide emissions come from producing the elect...

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint

Calculate your personal carbon footprint and compare your total to both the average per capita footp...

Carbon Credit Market: Companies Offsetting Your Carbon Footprint Could Be Frauds

Carbon offsets had a few holes when the Christian Science Monitor investigated the carbon credit mar...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.