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Fri, Dec 26, 2008

SFO To Offer Carbon Offset Kiosks This Spring

About $2 Per Hour Of Flight Time To Assuage Your Environmental Guilt

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 damage.

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 investment.

"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 said.

FMI: www.flysfo.com, www.3degreesinc.com

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