Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Today's Ramble - 11/28/06

I heard a couple of interesting stories on NPR this morning on my way to work. The first dealt with carbon credits. It turns out that carbon credit purchasing is exploding at the retail level. People buy these credits to pay for programs that reduce carbon emissions in direct proportion to the amount of pollution their household produces annually. The idea is brilliant. Unfortunately, it is not working well in practice. An expert in England likened the purchasing of carbon credits to a confessional in church. Individuals relieve their guilt about polluting the environment by buying their way out of it. It turns out that very few of them actually do anything about really trying to reduce their footprints on the Earth.

The second story was about how bad traffic has become in Russia. There are three times as many cars on the roads there as during communist rule. People are spending large portions of their incomes for cars, and just sitting in traffic for hours a day. Citizens of Moscow reported much higher levels of stress and anger about getting around the city. It turns out that the fall of the iron curtain and the resultant explosion of free enterprise is having a disruptive influence on these newly "free" citizens.

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