Back in January I posted a blog about my carbon footprint for 2007. With 36 flights spanning nearly 70,000 miles, I had calculate my carbon footprint at a little bit more than 14 tons of CO2, turns out I had some bad numbers in there and overestimated it by maybe 2 or 3 tons. From my testing, I’ve found different carbon calculators calculate CO2 footprint of air travel differently, you might want to try a few (I’ve listed some at the bottom of this post.)
UPDATE: So i ran the numbers again, and they are, to say the least, contradictory. TerraPass’s carbon calculator (averaging .4 lbs CO2/Mile for my 2007 travel, and .31 for 2008 travel) gives be a footprint half that of Native Energy’s (averaging .8 lbs CO2/Mile). I’ll continue to look into this and post a comment or a blog entry if I find out anything more).
So, even though the year is not done, the numbers are in. With 40 flights, 56,110 miles traveled by air I weigh in at 17,651 pounds of CO2 or almost 9 tons (according to Terrapass, and 25 tons according to Native Energy). So I am not sure whether to call this progress or not. As you can see, I didn’t fly less, I just didn’t fly as far. The big difference was that this year I did not fly to Europe. I’ll call it progress, and I hope to be able to make reductions again in the coming year.
This year I’ve decided I am going to take a hybrid approach to offsetting my footprint and bought 10 tons of RECs from Native Energy and a grove of 1000 trees (through TreesForTheFuture) which will offset 25 tons a year for 35 to 40 years. So this year, when you account for my past tree purchases, this years tree purchases and my RECs (surplus from last year, and new purchase for this year) I think it is safe to say that my carbon footprint is net negative, the question is just how negative.
In an interesting coincidence, it turns out that my father knows the sculptor Tucker Robins who is involved with TFT and has a studio near by dad’s business. Reading about Tucker this year, and watching the video “What A Seed Can Grow” from TFT I am again moved by what that organization is doing to restore habitat and ecosystems, and empower people in developing nations with their tree planting programs.
I encourage you to think about your carbon footprint, even if you can do anything this year to offset it, what isn’t measured can’t be managed, and the mere act of tallying up your footprint can help you figure out ways to reduce it in the coming year. There are a number of free and easy to use carbon calculators available, and it really doesn’t take that long, especially if you don’t fly as much as I do.
- NativeEnergy.com Has a good calculator and sells RECs.
BeGreenNow’s Carbon Calculator
- TerraPass Carbon Calculator, they also sell offsets and been involved in some debate about the utility of offsetting, and their methods in particular.
I wrote this post while traveling from NYC to Washington DC on the Bolt Bus, somewhere between Trenton NJ and Baltimore MD