Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 36: Buy Offsets for Airline Travel

I have unavoidable airline business travel next week. I decided to buy carbon offsets for my trip: I'll be flying 6,000 miles roundtrip from NC to southern California for a conference.

Carbon Offsets are a way for an individual or a business to try to mitigate some of their unavoidable carbon production by paying a third party to supporting carbon sequestration efforts. The idea is that you would go on an airline trip, but then you would plant trees that would help offset your carbon dioxide in return. (We wrote about offsets before in our posting about wine.)

I bought a "6,000 mile airline package" of offsets from Carbonfund.org ("Reduce what you can, offset what you can't") today for $11.33 which is supposed to help offset my 1.133 tons of CO2 that I'll produce by flying there. I chose "reforestation" as the offset method, but there were also choices for "energy efficiency" or "renewable energy".

Some people might complain about offsets as a form of "buying indulgences" (wikipedia link to the indulgence controversy) but most studies have shown that people who actually buy the offsets are not living all that large. They're people like me who are living consciously and mindfully, but who have one or two unavoidable carbon "biggies" that they'd like to offset.

In any case, I can't really make a "pocket" argument to turn this into a win-win, so, for the second day in a row, planet has to take the points.

So far...
Pocket: 5, Planet: 8, Win-Win: 21

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