Offset Your Infidelity

| Thu Nov. 19, 2009 7:05 AM EST

Do you have difficulty being faithful? Fear not: CheatNeutral allows you to offset your infidelity by paying another couple not to cheat. With just a few easy payments, you can assuage you guilt and continue your meandering ways.

Sound crazy?

That's because the "service" is an elaborate satire of carbon offsets, the system that allows polluters to justify their sins by paying to reduce emissions elsewhere.

As Mark Shapiro illustrates in the recent issue of Mother Jones, in the wrong hands carbon offsetting=greenwashing. When enviro-villains GM, American Electrical Power, and Chevron recently partnered with the Nature Conservancy, they weaseled out of tougher emission limits by purchasing reserves in a Brazil forest. In return, they got rights to the trees' potentially lucrative carbon sequestration—while pushing locals from their land. Environmentally responsible? Yeah, right.

Of course, carbon offsetting isn't all bad. Legit companies like TerraPass, for instance, allow individuals and businesses to offset their everyday emissions by funding renewable energy projects.

But CheatNeutral sharply makes the point: Wouldn't it make more sense for the worst offenders to not screw over a partner—or an ecosystem—in the first place?