September 25, 2009

Flying Green.

San Francisco Airport Now Offers Carbon Offset Credits.

Travelling is always stressful. Especially air-travel. If arriving at the airport 4 hours before your flight is not enough, we also need to consider the significant damage we are causing our planet with the decision to fly. If the stress doesn’t get you, the guilt certainly will.

Thankfully, one international airport is stepping-up their efforts to reduce environmental impact by offering travelers carbon offset credits. Essentially, you pay a sum (depending on the distance travelled, I assume) the goes to reduce the effects of carbon emissions.

This is a really incredible idea. The only problem with the program is that many travelers are unaware of their environmental impacts. Although travelling by jet is less terrible that by SUV, there are still significant environmental impacts.

For this program to be effective, travelers must first be educated on their choices. Then, offering a program to reverse their environmental footprint will become successful incentive.

If you are interested in offsetting your carbon footprint before travel or want to know how the money from the offset is spent, visit the Climate Passport website.

As of yesterday, passengers departing from San Francisco international airport can purchase carbon offset credits before taking their flight. The credits are called “Climate Passport”, and they can be bought from electronic kiosks located throughout the airport.

Each ton of carbon offsets costs $13.50, and a typical transcontinental flight spits out about 1.9 tons. Offsetting that will cost you just under $25. Of course, that number is for the total amount per flight, so if more than one passenger on a flight pays for the offsets, the flight will theoretically be carbon negative.

The money gets split – $12.00 goes towards the Garcia River Forest project, and $1.50 goes to the city of San Francisco to support local carbon reduction projects.

The kiosks cost $190,000 to install, and to me that seems like a heck of a lot of money for something that is going to be a pretty hard sell. On paper the project looks great – it allows passengers to help the environment without having to give up much more than a little of their cash, but in reality I really don’t see many passengers participating – though I’d like to be proven wrong. –gadling.com

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