Carbon Offsets for a Trip to ?!Florida!?

November 28th, 2005 by David
Four Generations of the Kroodsma Family

    You may be wondering why the line on the map hasn’t moved in the past week. I’ve been in Florida, spending Thanksgiving with four (!) different generations of my family. I will be missing the next two Christmases, and I figured I could justify flying across the country for Thanksgiving.
    Unfortunately, flying across the country uses a lot of fuel. Even though airplaine efficiency has improved in recent years, flying still gives off almost as much carbon dioxide as driving. It is almost as if I drove across the country.
    So I have purchased carbon offsets. This means that I am paying someone else to not pollute, or I am paying someone to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. This is similar to how the Kyoto treaty works – if you emit too much carbon dioxide, you have to pay someone else not to emit it.

A flight.

    Flying to Florida, I was responsible for about 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere. I have paid $12 to to offset these emissions through their various projects.
   Anyway, I’m back in L.A. now, about to try to take public transit from this Starbucks to the other side of town (It takes three different busses to get from the Ontario airport to the metro station. And the first bus? It was to the rental car parking lot and I had to ask the driver to make a special stop so that I could take the second bus).
   Back to the bike tomorrow!

5 Responses to “Carbon Offsets for a Trip to ?!Florida!?”

  1. Sian says:

    That’s a lot of CO2 !

  2. David says:

    A note on the rest of my night in Los Angeles:
    I was told by the people at the Starbucks that the cummuter train ran until 11:00pm. I arrived at the station at 7:45pm. The last train, it turned out, was at 7:30. I ended up getting a taxi to go to my friend Julia’s house (where my bike was stored for the week).

  3. nick says:

    Let me get this right: you flew back and forth across the country and only paid $12 in “trumped up environmental fees” for the energy you used? If that’s really the cost of using up some CO2, no wonder people aren’t changing their behavior. It’s really cheap!

    I was expecting you to say you spent somewhere in the range of $100 to fly. How are these rates set anyways? And how will something like this ever work…people choosing to spend money they don’t need to? That sounds like a recipe for self-interest to take over…


  4. David says:

    Yes, it is cheap. The rate is set by the ‘market.’ How much money do you need to spend to prevent a ton of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere? Or, how much do you need to spend to take it out?

    It turns out to be fairly cheap – for the first bit of carbon. It is, in many ways, a supply and demand thing. It is cheap to do now because there are a lot of _very_ _easy_ ways to reduce our carbon emissions. Cutting the first 10% of emissions is much easier than cutting the second 10%.

    Many people think we can actually save money (or make it) by reducing our emissions a bit. More efficient cars use less fuel, and thus cost less money. Using less electricity will save you money. The first bit of energy savings is very easy.

  5. Diana says:

    FYI – another website to check out for offsetting carbon dioxide emissions is where you can calculate the emissions your car puts out each year and buy a “terrapass” to offset those emissions. It’s a pretty cool way to decrease your car’s impact – for those of us that can’t totally get around by bike. :)

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