Inside eco-friendly air travel
March 29, 2010, 10:30am PDT | Length: 00:02:40
You can reduce your carbon footprint when traveling through San Francisco International Airport. Purchase a carbon offset for your flight -- and help restore redwood forests in Northern California at the same time. ZDNet's Sumi Das explains how it works.
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Sumi Das: Consider this. One passenger flying from San Francisco to New York round trip burns 2,200 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. That's the equivalent of driving a large-sized SUV about 2,000 miles; both a heavy toll on the environment. But now there's a way to reduce your footprint when traveling by air by purchasing a carbon offset for your flight.
>> Here I am flying and creating tons of carbon waste so it would be something that would be interesting.
>> I would consider it, yes.
Sumi Das: The program was introduced at San Francisco International Airport where officials recently installed kiosks for consumers to make the transaction. Steve McDougal is the Executive Vice President of Three Degrees, the company responsible for designing the program.
Steve McDougal: I think people generally know that there's an impact of flying. I think what people don't quite understand and is a continuing challenge is the role that these offsets can play in truly making a difference.
Sumi Das: Here's how the system works. Say a traveler decides to take a trip to Los Angeles from San Francisco.
Steve McDougal: I would go into the kiosk and enter LAX or Los Angeles and indicate that I would be flying round trip that day as one passenger. The kiosk then will calculate the greenhouse gas impact based on my fraction of the airplane. So my flight to LAX and back would generate approximately a quarter of a ton of greenhouse gases and then I can choose to offset that by purchasing a quarter of a ton's worth of carbon offsets.
Sumi Das: The cost to offset the west coast trip would be approximately $3 to 4$. So, where do these offsets go? For travelers who participate in the Carbon Kiosk Project at San Francisco Airport their offsets go to the Garcia River Forest, a redwood and river region along the north coast of California. Chris Kelly helps manage the Garcia River Forest Project and works for the Conservation Fund.
Chris Kelly: It's a remarkable story in that we're getting paid not to cut trees. For a hundred years the redwood forests have been harvested intensively for revenue, for income for industrial timber companies. Now there's a mechanism and a market incentive to grow trees and leave them standing.
Sumi Das: A win-win for both the environment and business. For ZDNet I'm Sumi Dias.
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==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====