For the low, low price of $160 you can turn your Hummer H2 into a zero emissions vehicle. It’s easy. All you need is a TerraPass.
Now here’s the fine print: it won’t actually reduce the emissions from your tailpipe, or turn your gas-guzzler into a sipper. What the pass does is buy smog allowances from the Chicago Climate Exchange where companies buy and sell pollution credits. By buying up a few credits, you reduce their supply (and presumably raise their price), and you thereby indirectly reduce the amount of pollution from other people.
Yes, it’s weird. And disturbingly similar to the Catholic practice in the Middle Ages of allowing rich believers to buy indulgences to expiate their sins. And perhaps even more disturbingly, the program so far has attracted mostly drivers of fuel-efficient vehicles. According to the article on CNN.com, SUV drivers aren’t very interested because they don’t feel guilty in the first place.