April 27, 2009 · Lessig
I’m a big believer in carbon offsets (not so much the cap and trade game, but in the simple internalize-your-externality-sort). I talk about it in my Green Culture talk. IMHO, we all have an ethical obligation to offset our carbon footprint — now. My wife and I have been doing so for a couple years. We’re a couple months late buying credits for last year.
One reason we’re late (other than the obvious) is the insane complexity in calculating it well. I travel way too much. That’s the biggest chunk to cover. But to calculate it accurately requires churning through a pile of flights. I could estimate, no doubt. But I want something more accurate.
So I was really happy to see on the United page an announcement of a “Carbon Offset Program.” What I expected it to be was a simple way to at least know what the total carbon footprint from your flights for some period was (after all, they have all the data), and ideally, a simple way to buy offsets.
No such luck. United has simple linked to one of the million places where you can calculate a per flight carbon cost. It allows you to input total miles flown, but its Mileage Plus page doesn’t give you total miles flown, it gives you the total added to your account (included bonuses, etc.)
Looking forward to version 2.0.