Summary: Those who are positive that the theory of man-made global warming is real have come up with an idea of a carbon footprint. If it's too big, you can use or purchase carbon offsets. It's interesting that when it comes to the Kyoto environmental treaty, that's what some countries have done, too.
I took the carbon footprint test, and I am a huge environmental offender. But at least I'm not as bad a violator as those pesky Brits on the average. (See the table below.) Nonetheless, I have to reduce my footprint by 13,000 units to do my part to reduce man-made global warming. I can plant 14 trees to pay for my offenses. Kind of sounds like the medieval sale of indulgences to me.
Not only can individuals reduce their carbon footprint. Some countries reduced their carbon footprint with regard to the Kyoto treaty. The United States was not one of them, though.
Among those who reduced their carbon footprints dramatically were Russia and Germany. How did they conform? Why was it so easy for them to sign on to Kyoto? Because they had previously been in one case the Soviet Union, and in the other case (in part) East Germany. Terrible government policies made communist countries by far the foulest polluters on earth, so turning to free enterprise allowed them to clean up their acts substantially.
But the United States didn't sign on. But neither did China or India. Because Kyoto is impossible to conform to. Fortunately, if you understand the science of global warming, you understand that we don't need a Kyoto treaty. More fortunately, as despotic governments become transformed into free enterprise, the greatest committers of environmental degredation sink away into the annals of history.
Update: 6/23/2007 - Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao would have loved Kyoto.