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bobsponge
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I see lines of people with fistsful of dollars shouting out to give to green charities because they feel guilty for exhaling CO2. I see options to buy a 'green pass' with your airline ticket, to make your flight 'carbon neutral'. I see great possibility for profit, even though I know anthropogenic global warming is a complete hoax, I am tempted to cash in on the morons and take the money they are throwing away. Would it be immoral of me to set up a for-profit carbon offset company? I view it as taking advantage of a fad or trend, so why not? Can anyone give me a good solid reason, other than the PT Barnum quotes, why I shouldn't do this?

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Would it be immoral of me to set up a for-profit carbon offset company?
I'm sorry, I'm totally confused. What the heck does that actually mean. I guess I don't get out enough. What is a "carbon offset company". Is this like PETA, where you break into coal yards, liberate the captive coal, and re-bury it, so that it can live out it's natural non-life?
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A carbon offset is some action that sequesters or converts a given quantity of carbon dioxide. For example, a planted acre of new forest would convert through photosynthesis a certain tonnage of carbon dioxide per year into oxygen. A business that emits carbon dioxide, such as a utility that burns coal in its power plants, can pay the company that planted the forest for the tons of carbon dioxide that the forest eliminates from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. So, a utility has paid for "offsets" to its carbon dioxide production, thereby neutralizing part of its carbon dioxide emissions.

There are also many ways of sequestering carbon dioxide, as I am sure bobsponge is aware of. For example, carbon dioxide can be pumped deep underground where it can even aid in the production of oil.

Scientists and entrepreneurs are working on many more ways of sequestering or converting carbon dioxide in order to create carbon dioxide offsets.

With that explanation, the question is, is it moral to set up a business selling carbon offsets? My answer is no, it is not moral. The reason is that you will find yourself put in the position of depending on and even advocating restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions (a la the Kyoto Protocol or the California carbon dioxide rules or new ones that the Democratic Congress wants to impose). The more stringent the controls are on carbon dioxide emissions, the more money you will make because carbon offsets will be worth more. You end up profiting by participating in a government-imposed system that actively destroys industry and reduces our standard of living by limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is an essential by-product of nearly all industrial processes (even life, with breathing) and transportation. These carbon dioxide producing activities provide us with a high and rising standard of living. Your business is predicated on a political process that seeks to thwart those activities in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

An analogy would be working as a regulator at the FDA or as a tax collector at the IRS. You can't help but endorse and support an immoral use of force against your fellow-citizens in such role.

There really are many other ways of making money. I would consider something different.

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Supposedly, what these companies do is help you offset your carbon. So, if we assume that a certain type of tree will remove X amount of CO2 in a year, and if we assume that an SUV will produce 3X CO2 in a year, then when one buys an SUV, one would also send in a "three-tree" payment to an offsetting company. Some are rather creative. For instance, suppose there's an old factory in some thigrd world company thats' belching CO2 equivalent to 10,000 SUVs. The offsetting company might fund a $1,000,000 upgrade that cuts the CO2 emissions from that factory in half, so $1 million offsets 5,000 SUVs; or, $200 offsets one SUV.

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A carbon offset is some action that sequesters or converts a given quantity of carbon dioxide. For example, a planted acre of new forest would convert through photosynthesis a certain tonnage of carbon dioxide per year into oxygen.
Okay, since I like replanting forests, that's actually a good example. My next question is, is a "carbon offset company" one which engages in an activity that happens to incidentally engage in the act of "carbon offsetting", or it it one whose central purpose is "carbon offsetting". Weyerhauser might then be a carbon offset company (I assume the determination is in terms of net annual activity, so in general, Anheuser-Busch is a carbon-producing company even if it might through some of its actions absorb some CO2 at some moment).

But on a related topic, isn't the buying and selling of CO2 production / consumption futures also a form of "carbon offsetting"? For instance, a middleman could negotiate a sale of Weyerhauser legal CO2-absorption fact-rights to Bud Beer. I mean, Weyerhauser is gonna do what it does, and Bud is gonna do what it does, so why shouldn't I make money off of the state-imposed requirement that Bud not do what it normally does? To be a carbon offsetter, can't I just be a carbon-offset-facilatator??

A business that emits carbon dioxide, such as a utility that burns coal in its power plants, can pay the company that planted the forest for the tons of carbon dioxide that the forest eliminates from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
Right, but a company that has nothing to do with producing CO2 (NB can I assume that CO producers are also in the same boat, or is this strictly about CO2?) can pay another company that has nothing to do with producing CO2, for whatever reason. The quesrtion is, should one company pay another. If you mean, "because otherwise the government will fine you", then the general question is whether it is moral to engage in a business that exploits the ways in which governments violate human rights, that is, is it moral to be a VEVAK agent, a North Korean spy, or a tax collector, I guess I'd say that it's on the low side of immorality, given that range. It would be roughly like bribing government officials to leave you alone. Hence it seems we basically agree. However, not for the reason that you give.
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One could profit off the facilitation, and one could profit off the creation of, say, tree plantings or what have you. One could simply use the money paid to offset the co2 by investing said money in companies that plant trees or grow sod, or whatever. I am not sure if it would be bad in terms of governmental control--- the reason being that if there are plenty of free-market carbon offsets available, there will be no reason for the gov to mandate or restrict anything-- the guilt of co2 creation might be enough.

I'm not looking at this for long-term profits. I want it for short-term. Harness the hysteria before it learns the real truth, basically. Snake oil. I, however, am not creating the demand, they are. So is it then immoral to give them what they want, which is, to say, give them nothing at all but push their money around and profit from the circulation?

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Snake oil. I, however, am not creating the demand, they are. So is it then immoral to give them what they want, which is, to say, give them nothing at all but push their money around and profit from the circulation?

Given your statement, would it be moral to become a television preacher?

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In essence, you have to ask yourself how you can do what you want to do without furthering a cause that you deem to be destructive of your interests.

GB, I think the better analogy is that Sponge is not considering being a preacher, but (say) a church architect. In other words, he won't spread the ideology, but will profit from it.

I think it boils down to: do you want to use your mind and your resourcefulness helping people in their process of belief? It is one thing if what you're doing is incidental: for instance if you make great suits that people happen to wear to church, or if you drive a taxi-cab and happen to drop some people to church. However, doing something that in its essence does nothing but support something you wish to destroy, is short term thinking. It raises the question as to whether one can use one's brain in a profitable way that does not also harm you.

I think that the fundamental evaluation you have to make is to what extent you contribute your mind to that which you consider to be evil. For instance, I think there's a difference between a printer who prints copies of the Nazi anthem, and a musician who composes an inspiring score for that anthem.

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Given your statement, would it be moral to become a television preacher?

Well they already believe in the crap, so why not live it up on their irrational dime? I won't be preaching, just collecting to 'forgive sins' and planting trees with the money, while paying myself a big honking salary, none of which can hurt much of anything.

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I see lines of people with fistsful of dollars shouting out to give to green charities because they feel guilty for exhaling CO2. I see options to buy a 'green pass' with your airline ticket, to make your flight 'carbon neutral'. I see great possibility for profit, even though I know anthropogenic global warming is a complete hoax, I am tempted to cash in on the morons and take the money they are throwing away. Would it be immoral of me to set up a for-profit carbon offset company? I view it as taking advantage of a fad or trend, so why not? Can anyone give me a good solid reason, other than the PT Barnum quotes, why I shouldn't do this?

What you will be doing is sanctioning the irrational ideas that those people are accepting and therefore, you will be playing the same role that the environmentalists are playing in upholding and spreading this "anthropogenic global warming hoax."

The setting up of your "for-profit carbon offset company" implies that you accept the "anthropogenic global warming hoax" and therefore, as a person with integrity, want to do something about it. By doing so, you are not only betraying the values that you uphold, you are also being dishonest i.e. faking reality.

Now do you think its moral or immoral?

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In essence, you have to ask yourself how you can do what you want to do without furthering a cause that you deem to be destructive of your interests.

GB, I think the better analogy is that Sponge is not considering being a preacher, but (say) a church architect. In other words, he won't spread the ideology, but will profit from it.

I think it boils down to: do you want to use your mind and your resourcefulness helping people in their process of belief? It is one thing if what you're doing is incidental: for instance if you make great suits that people happen to wear to church, or if you drive a taxi-cab and happen to drop some people to church. However, doing something that in its essence does nothing but support something you wish to destroy, is short term thinking. It raises the question as to whether one can use one's brain in a profitable way that does not also harm you.

I think that the fundamental evaluation you have to make is to what extent you contribute your mind to that which you consider to be evil. For instance, I think there's a difference between a printer who prints copies of the Nazi anthem, and a musician who composes an inspiring score for that anthem.

I agree with these distinctions. Judging these issues is highly contextual. As for the example given by the original poster, I think his actions would inevitably draw him into supporting the cause of the global warmers. I actually know people involved in the business of carbon sequestration. In order to promote their business, they have to attend conferences of environmentalists, and pass along articles to potential clients about anti-global warming legislation that can stimulate the market for these "carbon offsets". In this business you are not making the preacher's suits. You are writing his sermons.

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Me, too. You and SoftwareNerd have it right. You might end up with money, but will you be making money, or just separating it from fools? Pride and self-esteem are important, and so too is how you make your living.

I am proud of what I do now and I have high self-esteem, but being a producer of adult media I am still constantly shit on by much of society and constantly find my rights in jeopardy on both local and federal levels. It's a good living but I can't help but think of new business ideas and new money making schemes every day because that's what I was born to do.

I think I could live with myself separating fools from their money. However, if it got to being a major political debacle I would definitely call it quits.

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I think I could live with myself separating fools from their money. However, if it got to being a major political debacle I would definitely call it quits.

I think you'd tire of it. But, in this case it would be both. I would count out things that prop up environmentalism, at the least. It is a major political threat. If you just want to prey on foolishness, become a psychic or something. (Still, I wouldn't recommend it.)

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