Archive for September 8th, 2011

Fortnightcap: Carbon Offsets

Carbon Offsets

A Fortnightcap by DL Thurston

Creative Commons License

The auditor walked back into the house, cross referencing some tables.  “That behemoth outside, that your only car?”

“Yeah,” said the homeowner from his kitchen.

“My data says that gets about 13 miles to the gallon.  Sound about right?”

The homeowner emerged with a glass of water and sat down at his dining room table.  “Give or take.”

“And how far do you drive it each day?”

“Sixty miles round trip to work.”

“Sixty?” the auditor said with an appreciative whistle.  “That’s over four gallons a day.”

“You almost done,” he asked.  He was nervous, he wanted to get this over with, couldn’t even remember why this audit seemed like such a good idea to begin with.

“Yup.  Just want to make sure I’ve got everything.  You live here alone, drive to work 60 miles a day at just 13 MPG.  Your electrical bills show that you use about 1500 kilowatt hours of electricity a month.  You eat out more than you eat in, and when you do eat in you’re getting delivery.”

“Is that bad?”

“I don’t judge the way people live, I just audit it.”

“So.  So how do carbon offsets work?”

“Well,” the auditor sat down at the table, “we determine your carbon footprint, then we give you the option for how many carbon offsets you want to purchase.  That money goes to fund projects that are carbon negative but politically difficult to get funding for.  Wind farms, for example.  So you end up helping take some carbon out of the air while at the same time continuing to spew plenty of it into the air.  Hence ‘offset.'”

“So it’s like an indulgence?”

“You’ll make people uncomfortable if you talk about it that way.  Between us, yeah, the idea is to let people feel better about themselves without changing their lifestyle in any meaningful way.  And let me tell you, sir, you are a magnificent bastard when it comes to carbon footprint.  You’re a god damned carbon Sasquatch.”  The inspector rose from the table, and stepped around behind the home owner.  “It’s rare that I find someone with a bigger carbon footprint than mine.”

“Do…do you buy offsets?”

“No,” the auditor said, pulling the garrote wire from his watch, “I’ve found other ways to offset my usage.”

Fortnightcaps are biweekly experimentation into short form fiction. All Fortnightcaps are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. So if you like the story, please feel free to link people back here. And if you didn’t, maybe the one in two weeks will be better.  Wind turbine picture released to public domain by creator.

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