How can I offset carbon produced by flying to see my folks yearly?, 17°

Matthew W. 471°

I fly back to Europe every year to see my folks, but am really worried about the huge amounts of carbon it produces. Whats the easiest way to offset/counter this??

5 replies

Daniel S. 12°

it makes little sense to bring air travel to zero.
so i would humbly suggest that you:
1. buy a carbon offset ticket
2. sustain green action
3. sustain political action for better wealth distribution.
further you could start to video-conference, install solarheating for your house and use eco-friendly transport.
deforestation still accounts for more CO2 than air travel, which i think is basically a problem of wealth distribution since higher wages would create better jobs than timber logging or at least with fsc-certified companies.
air travel could also go just coast to coast with high-speed trains for the rest.
boat travel should be cheaper than flying so that only folks with no time would use it (i.e. flying more expensive).
finally there will be slower highly efficient planes in the not so far future. hopefully so.

Written in June 2008

C Robb W. 429°

It's a tough choice, George Monbiot calls them love miles.
I agree with most of Daniels thoughts on this issue except for the first one. It absolutely makes sense to bring air travel to zero or as close as is possible. The gasses and water vapor deposited in the upper atmosphere by aircraft are much more damaging than those deposited at sea level. Until we shift to airships or back to sailing ships for transoceanic travel the only solution is to reduce flying. While effectively assuaging guilt offsets are a questionable and unreliable means of reducing greenhouse emissions. The very premise is flawed. If you want to reduce GHG emissions from flying, stop flying. You can accept that to some degree it is necessary, as in my own case for the same reason as Matthew's. You can do all the things Daniel suggests and/or you could calculate the footprint of the travel and directly reduce your own footprint in some other verifiable way, drive 10,000 less miles, give up eating meat, whatever. But don't rely on some moneymaking scheme to do this for you in the way of offsets. Make the change in your own life, no-one can do it for you.

Written in June 2008

The answer to your question seems obvious to me.
Ride a Segway to work (if this is possible and practical) to offset your air travel!
Secondhand this mode of transport is now affordable.
And it makes for a fun commute.
Even if electricity generation is not carbon neutral in your area, you are not adding more atmospheric pollution by driving your car to work.
Over time the fuel savings (you make not driving to work) will pay for your secondhand Segway.
This way you don't need to feel guilty about air travel when visiting your folks, instead you know you've done something real and tangible about your concerns.

Written in June 2008

Charles M. 110°

First, fly every second year. That immediately saves 50% and makes any offset targets easier to achieve. Quantity is less important than you'd think. If you visit only every second or third Christmas, say, then that makes these "special" Christmases ("ooooh Matthew will be here this Christmas"). If you visit every Christmas, then it just gets to be a mundane part of every Christmas ("and it's Christmas so Matthew will be here" (yawn)).

The fundamental problems of this world are our consumption patterns (all our wants).

Life is a box of compromises. If visiting the parents is high on your "must do" list, then live closer.

Written in June 2008

1 person thinks this is a cool reply

It is obvious that you cannot offset or counter the carbon produced by your trips.
The best answer is don't go.
Alternatively, and perhaps better, incur the one time carbon cost of moving in with your folks.
You can still implement all of the suggested ideas.

Written in July 2008

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