Friday, December 21, 2007

Buy Carbon Offsets to Neutralize Your Air Travel

You may be concerned about the environmental impact of your holiday air travel. It's something to think about. A transcontinental plane,such as a 747, uses tens of thousands of pounds of fuel one takeoff. A single jet can produce as much nitrogen oxides in taking off, idling, and landing as a car driven 26,500 miles.

But what to do? Sometimes flying is unavoidable. You might consider buying carbon offsets to neutralize your travel emissions. Several companies offer carbon offsets for travel. These purchases shouldn’t be seen as environmental pardons, but they do have some benefit.

Here's how it works:
An individual calculates the amount of carbon he or she is personally responsible for (companies provide calculators), and then purchases an offset for that amount. The funds the offset company receives are used to finance projects that avoid, reduce, or absorb greenhouse gases through renewable energy, energy efficiency, or forest projects to bio-sequester carbon.The whole process, including the calculations, has the additional benefit of educating consumers about the impact of their travel.

The Tufts Climate Initiative has published a well-researched paper online that evaluates and compares the effectiveness and cost of 13 different companies that offer carbon offsets for airline travel. Of the 13, they recommend these four companies without reservation:
Climate friendly

Tufts Climate Initiative has also published a user-friendly pamphlet on the subject, available online.

For information about other ways to offset the greenhouse gases you generate, see “A Consumers Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers.”

Key words:: carbon offsets, airplane travel, holiday travel, green travel

Anja Kollmuss et al. “Voluntary Offsets for Air-Travel Carbon Emissions: Evaluations and Recommendations of Voluntary Offset Companies.” Tufts Climate Initiative. December 2006

”Flying Green: How to Protect the Climate and Travel Responsibly”. Tufts Climate Initiative.

A Consumers Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers. December 2006. Clean Air – Cool Planet.

"About the ecological footprint." Redefining Progress: The nature of economics.


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