La Satira News Service
Environmentalists applauded the release of a study this week that recommended the European Union extend its cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions to fitness centers and gymnasiums.
“One of the major goals most people have when they commence a fitness program is getting rid of excess fat,” said Arturo Scomodo, one of the authors of the study. “And we all know that when you burn fat to create energy, you produce carbon dioxide. So we have a whole industry out there whose main purpose is to increase the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. If we’re serious about greenhouse gases, we’ve got to get a handle on this significant emissions source.”
The purpose of the Emissions Trading System is to give industries a financial incentive to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The emplacement of a limit on total emissions creates a market in which large industries must either become more efficient or purchase credits permitting them to keep emitting at the same rate.
Under the fitness center proposal, gymnasiums and fitness centers in members of the EU Emissions Trading System would be required to install devices to monitor CO2 levels during the hours of operation. Data from these monitors would be used to estimate the CO2 emissions from such establishments and set an overall cap on allowable CO2 emissions. Caps on individual locations would then be allocated according to the centers’ membership at the time. The caps would then be reduced over time to encourage individual fitness centers to reduce their carbon output, either by installing equipment to capture CO2 or encouraging their patrons to breathe less while exercising.
Fitness centers that exceeded their allowances would be required to purchase carbon credits from other centers with more efficient carbon restraints. Centers could also earn credits for installing equipment to convert energy expended on treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bicycles into electricity that could be either used to run the center or else fed back into the grid.
Critics of the proposal point to the expense of installing and running the monitor systems, to say nothing of the expensive carbon-capture systems that would ultimately be required by the lowering of emissions targets over time. The increased expense could force fitness centers to raise their membership prices, undermining other government initiatives to encourage exercise and healthy lifestyles. Alternatively, the expense could force many individuals to get their exercise through outdoor activities in which it would be impossible to capture the CO2 produced.
A formal proposal for incorporating this scheme into Phase Three of the EU Emissions Trading System implementation will be considered later this year.
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