Monday, July 23, 2018

On climate indulgences

Next week, E.P. and I launch off on a verrry long flight to Australia -- and then on further flights within that huge continent. This trip will be by far our worst offense against climate stability this year. One CO2 aviation emissions calculator figures 250 kg CO2 per hour of passenger jet flight; that means our flights just to get to Brisbane will release something like 6 U.S. tons of carbon pollution.

Contemplating that number brings me back to whether a responsible person (who is able) should buy carbon offsets when she travels. I first wrote about this over 10 years ago; I was a skeptic then. Personal feel-good solutions didn't seem likely to make a dent in society-scale problems.

Fortunately the good environmentalists at Grist have been digging into the question.

Really ... You can do whatever you want, and cancel out the carbon impact by buying something?

Well no. But Eve Andrew suggests what else you can do ...


Rain Trueax said...

I didn't read the link but it made me curious as to how many grifters get into this kind of market. Even when governments do it, who gets the money and how does it help reduce CO2. I found this link Where does the money go?.

Personally, I think guilt is profitable for a lot of industries today. We're constantly being told to do this and then don't do it.

We own a second home and surely that is a reason to feel guilty. Once in a while I do; but since we own it in an area where housing stays low, we aren't part of the reason someone else can't afford to buy a home. Since we don't use energy to heat or cool it when we aren't there, that's a kind of offset (big one during the summer).

Maybe the biggest guilt of all in our world is to have the money to fly around the globe or own a second home. Most of us though, who have it, did work for it and didn't spend when others did. We aren't taking it from someone else... guilt abatement ;)

janinsanfran said...

Agree with you, Rain. Whatever this is about, individual guilt can't power our responses. Guilt turns in on itself and makes bad conditions worse.

The video suggests that well designed cap and trade programs (as in California and some other states) do help offset carbon-based energy. But there are more direct ways to reduce carbon and they are actually more efficient.