There was something fishy about Al Gore’s claim that he purchases “carbon offsets” to make up for the vast amounts of old-fashioned energy he uses to run his various houses. Arnold Kling of the invaluable Tech Central Station explains how offsets work:

“The idea of a ‘carbon offset’ is that when you do something that causes carbon dioxide emissions to increase you might at the same time donate money to a cause that reduces atmospheric carbon dioxide by a similar amount. However, not all ‘carbon offsets’ truly offer the sort of straightforward one-for-one trade that the term ‘offset’ implies. Some of the ‘carbon offsets’ are nothing but pork-barrel subsidies to energy producers, and their net effect on carbon emissions is problematic.

“Subsidizing ‘good’ energy in order to justify using ‘bad’ energy is like eating salad in order to justify eating dessert. It is an exercise in self-deception. (In this context, good energy means energy that is produced with little or no emission of carbon into the atmosphere.)”

Judging from Al’s physique, he applies the carbon offsets theory to dieting…