Chevy to spend $40 million on carbon offsets next three years

posted at 11:36 am on February 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

General Motors has yet to return most of the TARP funds sunk into its operations by George Bush and Barack Obama.  They claimed to have paid back the loans given the automaker, but as Chuck Grassley angrily pointed out at the time, they paid back the loans using other TARP funding for the cash.  Taxpayers still have tens of billions of dollars stuck in GM stock, and whether Treasury ever gets to a break-even point is anyone’s guess.

That hasn’t stopped Chevrolet from dumping $40 million in cash into carbon offsets over the next five years, however:

David Antonioli, chief executive officer of the Voluntary Carbon Standard, called MaineHousing’s work a breakthrough because it paves the way for similar agencies to sell their carbon offsets.

The approval came just in time to get the attention of Chevrolet, which was looking to buy carbon offsets as part of a major public relations push. “We were looking for ways to get folks to view Chevrolet differently,” said Bill Devine, cross brand marketing manager at Chevy.

Chevrolet, the largest brand at General Motors, is positioning itself as GM’s most environmentally-friendly brand. It recently introduced its electrical hybrid, the Volt, complementing its line of fuel-efficient Cruze cars.

Chevrolet decided to invest $40 million on carbon offsets in the next three to five years to promote fuel efficiency in buildings, and solar, wind and wood energy projects. Its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 8 million metric tons nationwide is based on the emissions from the 1.9 million vehicles it expects to sell in the United States in 2011.

Shouldn’t we expect Chevrolet and the rest of GM to start buying back stock at prices which will at least guarantee a break-even point for taxpayers before purchasing voluntary carbon credits?  Or is this an attempt by government-controlled GM to transfer its TARP funds to favored programs at the White House?  Readers may wonder what other reason anyone would have in buying carbon credits when no laws require it and no authority regulates it to ensure that carbon emissions actually decrease or increase, but Dale McCormick of MaineHousing explains:

McCormick said the agency’s carbon offsets command high prices because of their associated economic benefits, called “multiplier effects” in the world of carbon offsets. The money saved by low-income families on fuel bills will be spent on other purchases, which will stimulate the economy as well. “When we talked about our carbon offsets at conferences, people were drooling over our multiplier effect,” said McCormick.

I believe the “drooling” part, especially.  Macroeconomically speaking, does it matter whether the money gets spent on utilities rather than food or clothing?  Both go into the private sector.  The only “multiplier” is the transfer of wealth from the private sector to the state in the form of carbon credits, which multiplies the state’s abilities to redistribute income.


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I gotcher carbon offsets right here, ************ (grabs crotch in obscene gesture).

Paul-Cincy on February 23, 2011 at 2:01 PM

I must be a reel dummie becuz I doan unnerstand wtf they get for the 40 mil. What exactly is a carbon offset? And what is to be gained by “buying” 40 mil’s worth? What is the value of this item?

disa on February 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Chevrolet decided to invest $40 million on carbon offsets in the next three to five years to promote fuel efficiency in buildings, and solar, wind and wood energy projects. Its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 8 million metric tons nationwide is based on the emissions from the 1.9 million vehicles it expects to sell in the United States in 2011.

So Chevy expects its vehicles to emit about 4 metric tonnes (4000 kg) of CO2 per car over the next 3 to 5 years? Burning 1 kg of gasoline emits about 3.1 kg of CO2, so 4000 kg of CO2 would be generated by about 1300 kg, or about 2000 liters (520 gallons) of gasoline. Even if the cars got 30 miles per gallon, does Chevy expect people to drive each of the cars only 15,600 miles in 3 to 5 years?

Besides, $40 million for 8 million tonnes of CO2 comes out to $5 / tonne, while global-warming worriers think that CO2 credits of $100 / tonne are needed to make solar and wind power competitive with fossil fuels. Who pays the other $95/tonne for the CO2?

The money saved by low-income families on fuel bills will be spent on other purchases, which will stimulate the economy as well.

Forcing power companies to buy carbon credits will INCREASE the cost of electricity to everyone, including low-income families. How does that SAVE people money?

Steve Z on February 23, 2011 at 2:19 PM

At least 40 million over three years is small in the picture of the Federal budget. We can’t freak out over this. Yet even if one believed the direst picture by climate change hucksters, this still makes no sense by any standard.

thuja on February 23, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Paying a hooker
Is a small fraction of
My family’s budget.

Even so, my wife
Doesn’t buy that argument.
Can’t figure out why…

Haiku Guy on February 23, 2011 at 2:37 PM

I must be a reel dummie becuz I doan unnerstand wtf they get for the 40 mil. What exactly is a carbon offset? And what is to be gained by “buying” 40 mil’s worth? What is the value of this item?

disa on February 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM

A carbon offset is either paying someone not to do something that would produce carbon dioxide, or paying someone to do something that would absorb carbon dioxide such as planting trees.

Stupid, I know.

Carbon offsets are scams designed to extort money from business which in turn has to raise it’s prices … so in reality it’s YOU the consumer that is paying for it.

In this case I’m sure the money is being funneled either to democrats or some left wing organization.

darwin on February 23, 2011 at 2:48 PM

I must be a reel dummie becuz I doan unnerstand wtf they get for the 40 mil. What exactly is a carbon offset? And what is to be gained by “buying” 40 mil’s worth? What is the value of this item?

disa on February 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM

You are buying Peace of Mind. And what is a good night’s sleep worth to you? Even if not a single bit of environmental good is ever done by selling and trading carbon credits, it is worth 40 million to know that we care, and we tried, and we want polar bears, Delta Smelt, and other living things to frolic in a pristine wilderness.

And if you don’t want to spend a mere 40 million for that kind of peace of mind, well then you just want the planet to curl up and DIE.

Lily on February 23, 2011 at 2:50 PM

“We were looking for ways to get folks to view Chevrolet differently,” said Bill Devine, cross brand marketing manager at Chevy.

Nope, didn’t work. I still view chevy as stolen property, and no amount of stolen money from chevy to politically correct (but useless) schemes will ever change that.

And if you don’t want to spend a mere 40 million for that kind of peace of mind, well then you just want the planet to curl up and DIE.

Lily on February 23, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Thanks for the chuckle!!!

runawayyyy on February 23, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Let me see if I got this right;

1. We give/loan GM billions.
2. GM repays about 1/10th (@7.8%) from the capital fund we also paid for.
3. GM now qualifies for additional loans at a much lower (@5.0%) interest rate and we give/loan GM more money.
4. GM pays some snake oil salesman $40 million for an imaginary product in the hopes that their image is enhanced.
5. No regulation is currently in place to monitor the sale of carbon offsets.

Have I got that about right?

So, when does the beanstalk grow up into the clouds so that we can send someone up there to grab the goose that lays golden eggs?

Geministorm on February 23, 2011 at 4:23 PM

It’s mangled

it’s a rediculous transfer attempting an alternate route towards cap and trade

gm and Chrysler should be burned to the ground

eff the left

Sonosam on February 23, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Sonosam is correct. It should be no surprise to us to see Obama using a company that he bought with our tax dollars to not only hand it over to the unions, but to promote his and the unions political agenda. It would appear they still have the good sense not to mention that GM was given to the union by Obama.

This is nothing more than a foot in the back door for Cap and Trade, a keystone of the socialist/communist political agenda. In their political goals of cir 1997, they called for the destruction of large corporation through what is now call green programs and laws. This gives Obama a point and see, already doing it, excuse to for another attempt to pass the carbon tax laws, with the true nature of them wrapped in daises and unicorns. 40 million is not even a down payment on that 3 billion that Chevz was expecting to get once those C&T laws are passed, and he is just one socialist destroyed country waiting at the trough.

Franklyn on February 23, 2011 at 8:55 PM

If I were a GM bondholder, I would be considering a civil suit against GM.

Vashta.Nerada on February 23, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Trust me, they will hear it long and loud from their dealer body, wasting $40 million on this BS, pulled out of the marketing budget. Car dealers are ultimate capitalists with an acute awareness of profits and expenses and what sells cars today. Carbon credits don’t sell cars today, tomorrow, or ever. Senior Chevy management isn’t aware of the shiite-storm brewing up from the dealer body through the zone offices.

PatMac on February 23, 2011 at 9:20 PM

Senior Chevy management isn’t aware of the shiite-storm brewing up from the dealer body through the zone offices.

I think senior Chevy management is a four-person panel consisting of an Obama appointee, a UAW appointee, a time-server from the old management regime, and a delegate from the remaining suckers who owned GM bonds.

HitNRun on February 23, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Most corrupt administration ever

John the Libertarian on February 23, 2011 at 11:34 PM

This is a disgrace!
31,000 scientists from around the world do not believe in
the hoax of man-made global warming.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant; it is what we exhale.
And yet, the socialist steam-roller moves on!

Mark7788 on February 23, 2011 at 11:39 PM

Comment pages: 1 2