In his latest column, Wayne Nash channels Jonathan Swift and satirizes this hot topic.

A couple years ago, I proposed that the government should pay drillers not to drill wells in order to conserve our resource, in much the same way farmers are paid not to grow crops – “for the children,” and all that. I guess I didn’t make enough “contributions” to the right people, ’cause it didn’t fly. We still have to drill if we want to make a living. ’Course, the long-line guys might fix that, too.

Undaunted, and still full of entrepreneurial spirit, I have come up with a much better idea. Since a growing number of people have got their knickers in a knot about global warming, and quite a few are being eaten up with guilt about their “carbon footprint,” I have decided to start a company to sell carbon credits. Since we all want to reduce the amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere, the idea is simple: You pay me to pollute less so you can pollute more. Pretty good deal, huh? You’ll feel a lot less guilty dragging that bass boat with your SUV if you know I’m offsetting your pollution by reducing my own. I’ll feel good, too, knowing I’ve helped save the environment “for the children.”

At some point, you may ask, “Wayne, how are you possibly able to save enough CO2 to offset all of us?” I know, I’m just one man; I can’t save the whole planet. But I can make a bigger dent than you might think. You see, I got a real good deal on e-Bay on a surplus Chinese coal-burning power plant. It had previously been owned by a large factory, but came on the market when the bottom suddenly fell out of the lead-toy market. It must be the times or something. When I was a kid, I knew enough not to eat my lead soldiers. I guess kids these days just are not getting a good enough education, but that’s another story.

Anyway, if all of you buy enough carbon credits from me, I won’t build my coal-burning power plant! Think of the CO2 that I’ll save!

“How much will it cost to feel less guilty?” you ask. Good question. Believe it or not, there now is a world market in carbon credits, and the price varies, but I think about $10 a ton ought to do it. (The price is all over the map – a little cheaper in the United States and a lot higher in the countries that bought into the Kyoto boondoggle.) As an example, a car emits between 3 tons and 4 tons a year of CO2, an SUV emits around 5 tons (pollution may vary with driving style), and a cross-country airline flight adds 2 tons to your carbon footprint, so you can see that it adds up. Calculators are available on the Internet to figure out how big your carbon footprint is, and thus how much guilt you should pay for.

For instance, I will offer the Hollywood Star special. If you buy 100,000 credits, you will have saved enough guilt to cover 20,000 miles of driving, 40,000 miles on a commercial jet, 20 hours on a private jet, and a house in Malibu. For those with deeper pockets, more guilt or unlimited gullibility, I will offer the Owlgore special. I can offset the entire 221,000 Kw that his house reportedly used last year. (Available for a limited time only.)

By now, you’re probably thinking this is just for rich people. Not to worry, I have the Soccer Mom special. For the low, low price of $49.95, you can buy enough carbon credits to turn your furnace up to 68 degrees for a whole month – just in time for the holidays. (But wait! Order in the next 5 minutes, and I’ll throw in enough credits for you to be able to drive 60 mph all the way to grandma’s house!)

Since my coal-powered power plant also might release mercury into the atmosphere, I can cut that too, which will offset all the mercury produced refining the gold that the guys with their pants around their knees are wearing with their Mr. T training kits. See, something for everyone.

All the Web sites I’ve looked at say that you should only buy carbon credits from a source that you can verify actually is doing what it says. With this in mind, I will give you the phone numbers of my neighbors so you can call and verify that I have not built my coal-fired power plant out by the shop. How’s that for transparency?

In case you’re thinking that no one could be that gullible, let me give you a little history lesson. During the Renaissance, a lot of people bought into the idea that the world was going to end any minute. They were “et-up” with guilt over the sins they’d committed, so the church sold “indulgences” to cover up and excuse sinful indiscretions. The guilt-ridden happily paid up and went right on “indulging” – same as the people who buy carbon credits from me probably will do. I’ll bet these people pay someone else to exercise for them, too.

Sure, I could sell my carbon credits overseas. What, with the weak dollar and the Kyoto-inspired global guilt-fest, I probably could do well, but being patriotic and all that, I’d rather sell them to rich, gullible, guilt-ridden Americans. That’ll keep the tomfoolery right here at home! Just think: If Hillary gets elected, my stock will double, and I probably can get a government contract.

The point is this: A little more personal responsibility – and a little less self-righteous victimhood – would go a long way.