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Entries about climate

A note about carbon

Taking a break from all the fun. I was more than aware when planning this trip of the environmental costs associated with galavanting around the world in an airplane, especially in the face of our growing climate warming threat. Now, in some ways, air travel is perhaps surprisingly fuel-efficent. A typical long-haul jet like an A 330 or 747 gets something like 70 - 90 miles per gallon per person which is pretty good compared to driving solo, but really not so good considering the very large number of miles I am traveling by air (probably the equivalent of 3+ years of my normal driving mileage).

So I thought it should be simple to go online and grab some kind of carbon offset to mitigate at least that part of the impact of my travel. Well, it's not so easy as that. First, there is considerable controversy in the environmental community as to what constitutes a valid carbon offset. For example Greenpeace does not consider reforestation as a valid carbon offset. Second, evidently the level of controversy has caused a signficant number of 'retail' carbon offset sites to either shut down or appear more or less moribund. Third, there is really no good way for an individual to validate the companies that offset this service. Businesses can use California's validation of carbon offset programs as a way of ensuring that their efforts are appropriate, but as far as I can tell there is no way for and individal to take advantage of this information. And finally, and most importantly, it is evident that the efforts of the climate change denial community have slowed any progress in this area.

There have been some efforts. Virgin Atlantic apparently offered offsets as an option to its flyers, but the page I found was dead. It is too bad that there isn't one airline that feels it would give them a competitive advantage to raise their fares very modestly to enable them to become the world's first carbon-neutral airline, but the economic and political climate appears to make that infeasible.

It is really too bad. If you have better info, please let me know. In the meantime I will search for alternatives on my return.

Posted by tdeits 12:58 Tagged travel airplanes carbon climate offset Comments (0)

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