Thursday, June 19, 2008

eBay foils a good deed

Tom at Radio Free New Jersey has a tall, beautiful oak tree in his yard. He found that the tree was casting a shadow on the solar heater for his pool, so he planned to cut the tree down.

Then he had in inspiration: Why not leave the tree alone, and sell its carbon sequestration services to someone out there who was feeling guilty about their lifestyle? He would do a good deed, and for that he would be willing to put up with a slightly cooler swimming pool.

So, he put an ad on eBay, hoping to get a bid of $420 based on his calculation of how much carbon the tree would end up sequestering.

Alas, eBay yanked the auction after a few days without really explaining why. Tom speculates that eBay secretly knows that carbon credits are a scam, and thus is not willing for them to be sold on its site.

In my opinion, it is equally likely that the eBay folks accept the concept of carbon credits, and saw Tom's auction as mockery of the concept. Which it was, of course.

Bravo, Tom, for giving it a try. Perhaps you could find a way to contact the Gore estate; it seems that they could use a little feel-good P.R. right now.

When I think of all of the trees I've cut down on my property for one reason or another, and think about people who are more than willing to part with their money in the belief that the act frees them to maintain their wasteful lifestyles...... sigh...... what could have been.