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Fly Greener with Carbon Credits

John Platt, February 11, 2011

Last year I flew from Portland, Maine, to Los Angeles, California -- a 5,200-plus mile trip that generated an estimated 2.104 tons of greenhouse gases. Ouch.

Luckily for me (and my conscience), I'm not a frequent flyer by any means, so those emissions aren't a common element of my lifestyle.

But no matter what kind of trip I take, I can help reduce its impact with one easy step.

I buy carbon offsets.

For just a few dollars per ton, I can choose to invest in building renewable energy resources or planting trees to suck some of that carbon dioxide back out of the air. A number of services offer carbon offsets, and the price varies from service to service, but each offers a similar benefit of trying to reduce greenhouse gases.

My personal favorite of the carbon offset services is Native Energy, a great company which helps build renewable energy resources (like wind farms), often on Native American land. This benefits the environment and some of the country's poorest citizens.

With Native Energy, I can use their web page to calculate the impact of any trip I take by car or plane (that's how I got the numbers above), then invest in carbon offsets to compensate for the impact of my trip. Offsetting this particular flight cost me just $42, and I could choose to put that money toward one of several Native Energy projects.

There are lots of other carbon offsetting programs out there. Do you have a particular favorite? If so, let us know in the comments!

Tags: Airplanes, Emissions, Global Reaction News, Green Central, Green Travel, Greenhouse Gases, Reduce Emissions, Travel

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