About $2 Per Hour Of Flight Time To Assuage Your Environmental
It may surprise you to hear a large
international airport may soon offer passengers the opportunity to
purchase "carbon offsets" to ease their guilt about polluting the
environment by flying on a commercial airliner. It probably won't
surprise you to hear that airport is in San Francisco.
Fliers traveling from San Francisco International will soon be
able to purchase offsets from kiosks located throughout the
terminal, reports The San Francisco Chronicle. The experimental
program, scheduled to start in Spring 2009, may be the first one of
its kind worldwide.
"We'd like people to stop and consider the impacts of flying,"
said Steve McDougal, executive vice president for San
Francisco-based renewable energies concern 3Degrees. "Obviously,
people need to fly sometimes. No one expects them to stop, but they
should consider taking steps to reduce their impacts."
The city's airport commission has approved the trial program,
and SFO has kicked in $163,000 to get it off the ground.
Under the program, travelers would be able to calculate the cost
of their carbon footprints via self-service kiosks, similar to
those already in use for ticketing at most major airlines. A swipe
of a credit card, and passengers would receive a receipt detailing
where their money will be spent to offset the environmental
Details are still being ironed out, so firm prices haven't been
announced... but 3Degrees says to figure on one person contributing
about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per hour, with a two-hour plane
trip worth about $4 in offsets. "It's definitely not going to
double your ticket or anything," McDougal said. "It's going to end
up being a small percentage of your total airfare."
Whatever the cost, those prices won't be tax deductible.
3Degrees spokeswoman Krista Canellakis defended the program against
anyone who may say those donations amount to a fool's
"While the carbon offsets purchased at kiosks can't be seen or
touched, they are an actual product with a specific environmental
claim whose ownership is transferred at the time of purchase," she