Saturday, July 07, 2007

Live Earth!

I am recording coverage of Live Earth, the awesome concert to raise awareness of global warming. I watched a bit earlier and it was really cool. I love music! I saw Al Gore encourage everyone to agree to a 7-point pledge, and I love the Melissa Etheridge song that she wrote for An Inconvenient Truth - I saw her play it live.

I plan to analyze my carbon footprint and offset my lifestyle for this year. I encourage you to also! You can analyze your carbon footprint here. OK I just did it: my ECP score was 353, with a carbon output of 15 tons. That is probably high because although I recycle, save water and electricity as much as possible, I fly a lot for work. It says the average score in the US is 325, but the average carbon output is 20 tons.

I have an article coming out in November for E/The Environmental Magazine on Carbon Neutral cruises (including my trip to the Galapagos) and if you want to offset your carbon footprint take heed: A December 2006 report by the nonprofit group Clean Air, Cool Planet released the first review and analysis of offset providers (you can get a copy of the report online at their website), naming the best 8 of 30 reviewed in terms of quality of their projects and dedication to education about global warming: AgCert/Driving Green, atmosfair, Carbon Neutral Company, Climate Care, Climate Trust, co2balance, NativeEnergy, and Sustainable Travel/MyClimate.

Not all are US-based. Offset providers basically do various things that "offset" your carbon emissions - whether planting trees, investing in green energy, methane capture (a more harmful global warming gas than CO2) or other projects. The costs per ton of CO2 vary, but you also want to look at the overall quality of the offset. People like the idea of tree planting (myself included) but it actually is the least effective method, in part due to the impermanence but also because of the slow growth. Many providers will use a variety of projects, and you can also pick which you prefer.

Here is another calculator: CarbonCounter but I believe most of the above have calculators also. The Live Earth one is pretty simple, and a more detailed one may give a better estimate of your footprint.

1 comment:

Ian said...

Not terribly surprisingly, I realised that the calculator is driven mostly by your utility bills and your car/plane mileage. I remember in 2005 when the ESA meetings were in Montreal I was quite surprised to realise that you got a lower carbon score for two of us to drive (in one car) than for us both to fly. Of course, there's a little fiction in there - that's only true if the seats you occupy would otherwise be filled with other people - I suspect that filling one empty seat has very little impact on the amount of fuel the plane uses.