Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Smart Green... Smarter Consumer

By Paul Taylor

PAUL TAYLOR CONSULTING
www.taylorenvironmental.net
Ph.(310)709-8711 Fax(310)826-5476

Originally posted on July 27, 10:12 AM

With the global recession and California’s unemployment rate above 11%, the extra costs of green living are colliding with economic reality. Environmentalists have been green-guilt baiting us for years to donate to sanctimonious eco-nonprofits and to pay extra for green products and services.

The cold realities of economic recession have chilled recent years of obsessive environmental politicking. Environmentalism is the most densely organized political movement in human history -- eco-groups grew from 2,000 to over 4,000 during the 1990s. Now, as a political “special interest,” green groups have leveraged their roughly $1.5 billion in annual nonprofit assets to drown us in a tsunami of scary scenarios of climate change and global warming. Corporate marketeers have “greened” every product, service and advertising tag line. Surveys last year of large US retailers found more than 1,700 products boasting of green credentials or environmental benefits -- most at extra cost with unproven benefits. Critically missing in this eco-emersion of fanciful ideas for green living has been the increased consumer costs involved.

A contemporary example of smarter consumers is a 2007-launched California utility’s “climate smart” program. The patronizing program asked electric power users to donate an extra monthly $2 to $3 for “forestry projects” that would control global warming. Well, consumers are not that dumb. With common sense applied to the debate about the causes of climate change and to some theoretical reduction in greenhouse gases from a “forest project,” smarter consumers didn’t buy in. The Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has found that only 0.6% of its 5.1 million users would pay extra to be “climate smart." It costs this utility about four times more (in millions) to run the “climate smart” program than donations received to date. So, power user rates may be raised to pay for this silly and indulgent green gone wrong mistake.

Let the green buyer beware. So-called “smart” green products and services always cost more than the conventional items they pretend to replacement. Maybe “SMART” is actually an acronym meaning “Socialist Manipulation And Rhetorical Tripe.”

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