Public piety

I have long believed that people are hard wired to practice religion in some form, and this current article on Cnn.com “So Long to Gas Guzzler Guilt“. The article is about a company called “Terrapass” that trades in pollution credits to make up for the auto emissions of environmentalists

The company is a for-profit enterprise, but caps its profits at a maximum of 10 percent of revenues.

Those revenues so far, Arnold says, are “itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny.” The company started selling TerraPasses in November and had sold about 620 as of last week.

If you buy a TerraPass, the money will be used to purchase smog allowances on the Chicago Climate Exchange. The Climate Exchange allows polluting companies that produce less than a certain amount of airborne pollutants to sell credits to other companies that then allow them to go over the limit.

The overall limits are reduced over time making it more costly to exceed them. Organizations and companies that buy pollution credits reduce the overall supply of credits and also make it more costly for companies to exceed the limits.

and

Since car drivers are under no legal compulsion to try to compensate for their tailpipe emissions, the TerraPass will only appeal to those who feel some guilt about their driving, and want to do something about it.

Not surprisingly, few SUV drivers have been buying them. Most have gone to owners of fuel-efficient cars that produce relatively few pollutants.

That initially surprised Arnold.

“We fully expected to target SUV drivers with SUV guilt,” he said. “It just doesn’t exist”

Instead, he’s been traveling to environmental fairs pitching the idea to those who, for the most part, drive fuel efficient small cars and gas/electric hybrid vehicles.

“Environmentalists have a very conflicted relationship with their cars,” said Arnold.

As for himself, Arnold doesn’t own a car. He commutes to work by bicycle.

The need to show piety is deeply ingrained in us.

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