Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Offset Your Airline CO2 Emissions

British Airways now allows you to offset the CO2 emissions created during your flight with an organization called Climate Care.

I have blogged before that all global warming hatred goes towards Hummer drivers and yet frequent flyers emit more carbon dioxide into the environment. A frequent flyer who flys 60,000 miles a year (12 round trip flights coast to coast) creates as much CO2 emissions as a Hummer driver who drives 12,000 miles in a year. Maybe instead of having bronze, silver and gold level of frequent flyers, they should have 1 Hummer at 60,000, 2 Hummer at 120,000 and 3 Hummer at 180,000. See how many people brag about their miles then.

Using the Climate Care Calculator, a round trip from San Francisco to New York (which covers about 5140 miles) creates .93 Tonnes of CO2 (or 2046 lbs for you non metric types). Climate Care will charge you 6.03 pounds (or $10.23 at current conversion rate) to offset this. So if you figure a $300 ticket, this is an extra 3% or a fairly small amount.

Carbon offsetting is based on the principle that we live in an interdependent world and carbon dioxide released by anyone affects everyone. Therefore instead of reducing the CO2 that you emit directly, you can reduce it somewhere else and have the same impact on the environment. This allows you to take the proverbial low hanging fruit, to find the cheapest way to reduce and lower your cost.

Luckily (or not depending on your perspective) there is a lot of low hanging fruit out there. Climate Care works on Efficient stoves in Honduras, Renewable Cooking in India, and Lightening the load in South Africa. The price Climate Care charges is 6.48 pounds/tonne or $10/ton.

I looked around and this appears very cheap. The EUA carbon market in the EU prices one metric tonne of carbon dioxide emissions at €22.65 ($26.60). Not sure why Climate Care, or some other arbiter (or me!) couldn't buy a tonne at around $10 and sell it for $26 on the market.

Bonneville Environmental Foundation charges about $28/ton for their green tags (see previous green tags post). They are using their money to help build solar and wind power plants in the US which apparently is more expensive to do then that renewable cooking in India.

I like this first step that BA is doing. It would be even better when you can go to Expedia and on checkout have an option to offset your carbon, right along with your rental cars and hotels.

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