Just when you think you are doing a good deed, your action may actually be hurting others: that was the message that energy guru Piyasvasti Amranand delivered at a seminar this week.
He began his speech by pointing out that to get to the seminar, all 100 or so participants had needed to burn fuel. Just by leaving our offices or homes, we had added to the world's greenhouse-gas burden. As responsible citizens, therefore, we should find a way of compensating for our destructive behaviour. His suggestion for a good deed?
"You all should buy carbon credits."
He went on to draw a parallel between individual humans and polluting companies, which under the Kyoto Protocol are compelled to buy Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits equivalent to their greenhouse gas emissions, which are compensated for by green-energy projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) scheme.
Few are in a better position to appreciate the importance of CDM than Piyasvasti.
As president of Thai Airways International, he realises that the airline also needs to buy CERs to compensate for emissions if it wants to continue to do business in Europe when the rules take effect, in 2012.
Piyasvasti's experience should stand him in good stead for the challenge ahead. As former energy minister and now chairman of the Energy for Environment Foundation's advisory board, he has spent years working on finding ways to help the world reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As he divides his time between working for a polluting firm and a foundation geared towards greenhouse gas reduction, he reckons that his good deeds compensate for his "bad" side.
It seems the owners of the 65 suspended industrial projects at the centre of the Map Ta Phut has not done enough with their corporate social responsibility programmes. Or, they would not have been ordered to do more.