Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oh, wait -- those credit cards are petroleum-based, aren't they?

From a July 25 Reuters story:
General Electric Co. issued a credit card on Wednesday it says will be the first to cut help U.S. cardholders voluntarily cut emissions linked to global warming.

The card, called GE Money Earth Rewards Platinum Mastercard, allows users the option of automatically contributing up to one percent of their card purchases to buy greenhouse emissions offsets.

In voluntary emissions markets, consumers who feel guilty about their greenhouse emissions can buy offsets, or credits, designed to represent emissions reductions that took place somewhere else, like a solar or wind power farm.

"Earth Rewards cardholders will now have a new tool to complement the ways they are already reducing their emissions," Tom Gentile, an executive at GE Money said in a release. "They can turn everyday purchases into extraordinary rewards."

GE's offset program will almost certainly lead to more consumption by environment-conscious customers, which will lead to more manufacturing of goods, which will lead to ... more emissions than there might have been without this program.

So... the customer's conscience is soothed, GE reaps the financial and P.R. rewards, and pollution increases. About par for the carbon offset industry.