Are you leading a carbon neutral life? The desire to be green (or, at least, to be seen as green) is trickling down from countries, through companies and organisations to individuals. First organisations like the National Football League in the US jumped on the bandwagon by saying that they would plant trees to counter emissions from Superbowl XL. In the UK HSBC bank is playing the tree planting game and even Bristol City Council says it will plant trees along its bus routes to counter emissions from buses. We’ve seen rock bands planting trees to offset concert emissions and Hollywood is getting in on the act too with celebrities like Brad and Leonardo queuing up to declare themselves carbon-neutral. There’s even a car finance company operating in Australia that links your loan rate to how green your new car is and plants trees to soak up any likely emissions. Also in the US, eight US States have begun a federal action against five of the largest power companies in the US for not cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and pollution trading is set to be one of the fastest growing markets of the future worth US $35 billion by 2008 according to the UN.That’s right, there is a market for trading pollution whereby one company can buy and sell the right to pollute the earth’s atmosphere. Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are all active in this new market. But is an exchange for polluters and non-polluters a good idea? You’d think not. According to one think tank the existence of this market stifles energy innovation and promotes the idea of pollution. Still, something needs to be done and fast. We currently release 300% more CO2 than our oceans can absorb. India’s CO2 emissions are likely to rise by 70% by 2025 and between now and 2030 emissions from China will probably equal that of the rest of the industrialised world.

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