July 5th, 2007


all your carbon emission reductions are belong to us

Today I got a voucher in the mail for reduced price CFLs: 5 EcobulbTM lights for $10. It'd be a great deal if we hadn't already switched all our bulbs to CFLs. Anyway, in the fine print on the voucher there is an odd restriction:

In purchasing or using EcobulbTM lights, you agree that CO2 emission reductions resulting from their use are the property of Energy Mad Limited.

Can they do that? Does it make sense for the vendor of an appliance to somehow "own" the reduction in emissions that may or may not result from their use? Is this an attempt to make some kind of land grab of carbon emission reductions so they would be able to minimise the amount of carbon offsets they would have to buy if they were to go "carbon neutral"? By them retaining the ownership of the reduction in carbon emissions realised by all their customers, would this mean that customers who use their bulbs would have to calculate their energy use based on normal incandescent bulbs if they wanted to neutralise their carbon footprint? Not to mention, in theory carbon offsets themselves can be bought and sold in some kind of trading market.

This is all very virtual and confusing. I wonder whether other CFL vendors try to pull the same trick.