Neutrality 2015

(what follows is an email I just sent to my tenants. In theory I should send this every year; in practice I forget to email most years, but at least I typically remember to buy the offsets.)


This is an annual reminder: a small portion of the rents you pay go to making your home energy consumption carbon-neutral. In a less self-destructive world, these extra costs would be handled automatically by utility companies and/or governments, but in the meantime I declare them to be mandatory for us.

Our natural gas use (which is not extravagant for the number of people, but still considerable on account of Winter) is offset via donations to miscellaneous tree-planting and methane-capture projects; that ends up costing around $1.90 per person per month.

Most of our electricity is generated via windfarm, which is already close to carbon-neutral. Fossil fuel prices shift around a lot compared with the (relatively stable) cost of wind power — coal and natural gas are cheap this year, so wind has been costing around 6% more than the standard fossil-fuel-heavy option. That adds up to another couple of dollars per month per person.

For those of you who drive cars, eat cows, have separate utility meters, etc, I encourage you to offset your own energy use as well. For fossil-fuel offsets, this is a good place to start: To purchase windpower you just need to make a single call to your local electric company.

For me, at least, it’s well worth the price to feel slightly less guilty when there are food riots, major cities destroyed by floods, etc.




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