The Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago has basically wasted money on carbon offsets that didn't reduce greenhouse-gas emissions at all, but rather gave the money to an existing wood-burning power plant. Essentially the city paid a business extra money to keep doing what it was doing, namely adding carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
This is solid evidence that, even with good intentions, we cannot confront climate change or make a significant dent in global warming by throwing money at the problem. Only by truly altering our behavior and consumption patterns can we have any chance at lowering emissions and hopefully blunt the effects of the changing climate. Daley's heart may have been in the right place, but Chicago--and every other city, town, and settled group of people anywhere--must focus on substantive changes, such as mass-producing vehicles that emit less exhaust, planting green roofs, making buildings energy efficient, expanding public transit, etc. None of these are new ideas.
It's disappointing that yet more taxpayer money was wasted on a pointless project, but let this be a lesson that taking the easy way out and shoveling money at a frightening issue will not automatically solve it. Chicago can do better, and other cities should learn from this mistake. As a very wise man once told me, the right thing to do is the harder thing to do.