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Chase terrorists the green way: 24 TV series going carbon neutral

Actor Kiefer Sutherland is fighting imaginary terrorists the green way. Producers of 24, the FOX drama that chronicles Sutherland's Agent Jack Bauer as he races to capture crooks over a nail-biting 24-hour period, are buying carbon offsets to compensate for the global warming emissions they're releasing with every car crash and explosion.

Carbon offsets are credits that carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters (whether individuals, companies or utilities) buy toward clean-energy programs to make up for their own greenhouse-gas emissions. FOX Chairman Rupert Murdoch has said he wants to make his network carbon neutral by next year, and as part of that, producers on 24 have purchased credits toward Indian wind-power plants that they say make up for 1,291 tons of carbon-dioxide, a little more than half a season's worth of emissions, the New York Times reports. FOX also hired consultants to measure how much CO2 the production is emitting, and is using 20 percent biodiesel fuel (made from plant stock or animal fat) in trucks and motion sensors that switch off the lights in unoccupied rooms, according to the newspaper.

“No one is kidding themselves that viewers want to see Jack Bauer stop in the middle of an action scene and deliver some line about the environment,” Dana Walden, chair of 20th Century Fox Television, told the Times. But knowing about the carbon-neutral effort, she said, might give viewers “a more gratifying viewing experience, even if it is at a more subconscious level.”

The idea of going carbon neutral by purchasing offsets is controversial. It can be difficult to track whether the credits really translate into clean-energy generation, the Times notes. The House of Representatives last week dropped a plan to buy offsets after deciding that there was no way to verify that the exchange would produce "absolute neutrality," the Washington Post reported.

Kiefer Sutherland by watchwithkristin via Flickr

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