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NYT Art. Re: Carbon Footprint Calc And Offset

Tue May 15, 2007 10:42 pm


There's a site referenced in todays New York Times named

It has an "advanced" personal carbon footprint calculator. For the heck of it I plugged in my 10 JFK - SFO trips over the last year to see what my carbon emissions are. It came out to 25.3 tonnes (along with a note saying that it was well above average). Prominently displayed was a link to their carbon footprint site where I could buy offsets to counter my footprint.

I began to wonder about the metric used to calculate my carbon footprint. On those flights I flew in a variety of aircraft (777, 767, 757, A320, A321 etc). Each journey had different fuel efficiencies depending on factors such as aircraft type, headwinds, ATC delays, aircraft load, etc... Yet, it wasn't readily apparent what benchmark was used to calculate my carbon footprint. So, I'm left to wonder what exactly is the carbon footprint for an aircraft flight? Not to mention what exactly is the carbon offset that I'm buying. Which leads to the question is one offset better than another (e.g. is planting a tree better than having carbon sucked out of the atmosphere and injected into a deep well)?

So, this site might have good intentions, but I think the carbon footprint calculation model is flawed.

Which leads to another question, does anyone have a link to a report/study documenting the carbon footprint of aircraft?

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