Sunday, August 04, 2019

The 7 rules of carbon offsetting your flights

Suppose you have to fly, or you use a gas-guzzling SUV. Is there any point in carbon offsetting? Yes, and it's not as dear as you might think. But what sort should you use?

The 7 rules of offsetting are:

1. It doesn’t let you off the hook. You’ve helped global warming. And:

2. As soon as you do the thing that needs offsetting, like flying, those pesky greenhouse gas (GHG) molecules are up there helping to warm the planet.

3. Therefore: action needs to be as immediate and swift as possible.

4. So waiting around for a tree to grow is not an option esp. if you have no idea what will happen to it (fire/disease, etc.). It will take ages for it to recoup the CO2 from the skies.

5. The offsetting action needs also to be additional to what you’d do otherwise, or it makes no diff., right?

6. And it needs to start as soon as possible to start compensating for those GHGs you sent up.

7. Speed also includes the time it takes for the GHGs that would have gone into the sky if your offsetting hadn’t happened to reach the total equivalent of the GHGs caused by your flight: the faster the better.

Example: solar lanterns in Africa

I buy a single solar lantern from that displaces a kerosene lantern used by a family in rural Uganda for £5.

I have no idea how long it takes for that family to get the lantern, but it’s good that they do for other reasons (their health, and their kids can study after dark (6pm)).

Once they get it, I don’t know how often they’ll use it. So I don’t know how long it will take to displace the kerosene-emitted GHGs they were using to the equivalent of the GHGs caused by my flight.

But I do know that even though Jremy Leggett says that 1 lantern offsets a flight to Istanbul from London in an average of two years, the more lanterns I buy the faster the offsetting will happen.

If I buy 4, then in 6 months; 8 in 3 months. So I could buy 8 for £40. That would be a very good solution.

Example: solar roofs for community buildings in Wales

I could invest in solar panels on community buildings in’s share issue. That's a social benefit as well as an eco-benefit.

That would be additional if I wasn’t going to do it otherwise.

Egni will put up the panels on community buildings in Wales within about 6 months, I reckon.

And you’d get a return on your investment.

Every 4kWe of PV (photovoltaic panels), will save around 1124Kg of CO2 in one year based on this:

Ask Dan McCallum at how many kilowatts of PV a given amount of investment would buy if you want to know. (I made their website btw).

That would be a nice thing to do to.

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