Snap up pollution offsets

Heard of carbon credits? Producers of clean, renewable energy earn ’em, and polluters look to buy ’em to make up for the dirty, nonrenewable energy they produce themselves.

Ever since the practice began, objectors have been saying people shouldn’t be able to buy the right to pollute. Putting a new spin on that is San Francisco’s Outside Lands summer music festival.

When tickets recently went on sale, concert-goers got the opportunity to add $3 to their $225.50 tab to “offset” their festival experience. According to the fest’s Web site: “These donations will be used to purchase (and then retire) pollution credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange. By buying and then retiring these credits, we will directly prevent polluting companies from buying them and using them as a ‘right to pollute.’ “

So companies who’ve run out of carbon credits can’t just buy more—at least not through the Chicago Climate Exchange.