Author Topic: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?  (Read 39165 times)

Making Cookies

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #150 on: November 03, 2015, 04:06:22 PM »
My husband is on 80-100 flights a year for work, plus another dozen for leisure.

Qantas has an option of paying extra (cash or points) to support their carbon neutral program (i.e. pay extra and they will plant a tree).

http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/fly-carbon-neutral/global/en

The problem with that is - how to do you KNOW anyone ever actually planted a tree with your money? I am a bit of a pessimist admittedly but I can imagine the tree company counting a few trees twice and three times and pocketing the difference. The truth might never come out.

And furthermore - the tree might represent some tiny percentage of the pollution a flight caused. What about the environmental cost of that big airport in some location for 100 years with the heat/a-c running, all those lights, etc?

I choose to hardly ever fly. That's my solution. I flew a half dozen times years ago in the military. I flew once a decade ago for my job (and told myself given the choice - never again) and someday I might fly on a vacation with my family to Europe. Sort of a once in a lifetime trip.

I'm not going to worry about the pollution at all though. I was part of a military operation involving Navy Seals years ago. They burned through more fuel in patrol speedboats over a week than I've probably burned in 500K miles of driving. The Navy was airdropping fuel at sea.

Missy B

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #151 on: November 03, 2015, 10:02:28 PM »
Yup. Airlines can and do cancel or downsize undersold flights. I remember flying standby to London, England with my flight attendant gf on her tickets. The story went from 'we'll have no trouble getting on, tons of room' to 'we're bumped, they switched to a smaller plane.'


Missy B

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #152 on: November 03, 2015, 10:48:25 PM »
Environmental impact is a big reason why I don't fly. Also, It's not enjoyable, and it costs, so if I'm honest with myself, it would be harder to stick to my guns on this if flying was super fun and relaxing, instead of like a prison visit.

But I do. I had one return international flight, Vancouver to London, in 2001, and one domestic in 2007, Vancouver to Calgary. My family all live in town, so any flying would be strictly recreational, and I can't justify it.

A few years ago when I was reading 'Radical Simplicity' by Jim Merkel --who calls himself a 'recovering engineer' :) -- I worked out my footprint and it was 8.4 acres. (The Canadian Average was 24 acres, the American, 26) My footprint was one third the average for two reasons, basically; because I didn't -- and don't -- have a car, and because I don't fly. Most Canadians feel their sunny warm winter vacation trips are akin to a human right and would never seriously consider not going to Hawaii, Florida or Cuba because of the huge carbon footprint. Besides, they recycle. And own green mutual funds. So it all works out :/


http://www.radicalsimplicity.org/

HappyPoet

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #153 on: November 04, 2015, 02:47:28 PM »
I listened to a podcast on Root Simple, where the guest, a physicist I believe, discussed the carbon impact of flying.
http://www.rootsimple.com/2015/02/039-climate-change-and-be-cycling-with-peter-kalmus/

I ran the numbers his way, and was dismayed. Then I repeated the numbers today using the links other folks provided. Here's what I am seeing:

I drive a plug-in Prius (charged mostly with solar power) and get about 100 mpg. I drive about 6000 miles per year, and at 20 pounds of carbon per gallon of gas I generate about 1200 pounds of CO2 per year for my family of 5.

I also visit my husband's family in Belgium once a year, flying from Baltimore, usually. On a typical 747-type plane, at about 0.512 pounds of Co2 per mile per passenger, my family of 5 uses over 19,000 pounds of CO2 for a once-a-year trip. In other words, despite having an efficient home, an efficient car and trying to eat a lower-carbon diet I am still using a crapload of resources due to flying.

I researched other ways to travel across the Atlantic, but they are slow, outragously expensive or not routinely available (no cargo ships routinely carry families).

I'd consider not going at all, but I don't want the family to disown me! And it is in some ways my second home too.

zephyr911

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #154 on: November 04, 2015, 02:52:48 PM »
The problem with that is - how to do you KNOW anyone ever actually planted a tree with your money? I am a bit of a pessimist admittedly but I can imagine the tree company counting a few trees twice and three times and pocketing the difference. The truth might never come out.

And furthermore - the tree might represent some tiny percentage of the pollution a flight caused. What about the environmental cost of that big airport in some location for 100 years with the heat/a-c running, all those lights, etc?
If you assume everyone's a liar, how do you participate in the modern economy at all?
Oversight does exist. If you're concerned about a specific claim being valid, there's usually a way to investigate.

Missy B

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #155 on: November 04, 2015, 10:51:29 PM »
The problem with that is - how to do you KNOW anyone ever actually planted a tree with your money? I am a bit of a pessimist admittedly but I can imagine the tree company counting a few trees twice and three times and pocketing the difference. The truth might never come out.

And furthermore - the tree might represent some tiny percentage of the pollution a flight caused. What about the environmental cost of that big airport in some location for 100 years with the heat/a-c running, all those lights, etc?
If you assume everyone's a liar, how do you participate in the modern economy at all?
Oversight does exist. If you're concerned about a specific claim being valid, there's usually a way to investigate.

The whole carbon-credit industry is questionable, and the tree-planting stuff is particularly sketchy. The David Suzuki Foundation, which generally supports these carbon-exchange type things, makes special mention of that on their website. For the carbon credits to be legitimate, they should be completely new, something that wouldn't have happened without the program (ie, you shouldn't claim credit for a forest already growing) and the credits shouldn't be counted more than once. This is apparently quite difficult to guarantee.

As an example of how these sorts of programs fail: outside of Vancouver, where I live, a piece of land with mature tree cover was logged so it could be turned into money via carbon credit. Since it needed to be 'new' trees, they logged the old ones.
The fact that saplings fix very little carbon compared with new trees and will not catch up in volume for a couple decades didn't matter to the third party who certified their credits. This was a net loss of carbon fixation, and what's worse, the trees that were planted to 'balance' someone's flight will take 60 years to do it. Meanwhile, the extra C02 is around for decades, along with an additional deposit each and every year after that, by someone who now feels okay about flying because they're 'carbon neutral', thanks to the tree-planting program.
 And that is assuming the tree is actually allowed to grow, which is quite a stretch. Think anyone is going to care thirty years from now if someone wants that land for a mall and the business that sold the credits is gone?

AlanStache

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #156 on: November 05, 2015, 08:05:00 AM »
re co2 offsetting:  Are all the systems tree based?  I have never looked into it.  Are there systems that pull co2 with algae and then store the carbon in blocks, could this work on a much shorter time frame?  Thought I had heard that algae was being looked at for this.  Might take more hands on effort than just planting a tree and waiting 60 years.

Making Cookies

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #157 on: November 05, 2015, 08:11:10 AM »
Got a recommendation?
You could send me $20/mo - the average cost of charging my Volt. Offsets 1,000 miles of ICE driving, or one average commercial flight... ish. ;)

But seriously - I have used, and can recommend, TerraPass. Their site lists current project info and standards if you want to dig into that. Primary categories are wind power, farm waste and landfill gas recapture (IOW, they turn poop and trash byproducts into combustible fuels).

Does anyone CHECK and AUDIT these companies? Our town has have a bunch of charity bins all over town. Only recently has it come out that a number of them are not really charities after all. And a few of them are simply renting the rights to charity names.  Here is a big one:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_Movement_USA

Even semi-unregulated GOP controlled flyover states are cracking down on these bins who are placed by companies who are not really charities.

"The Knoxville-based Cancer Fund of America and three related charities are accused of diverting 85 percent of the $187 million they raised. Much of the money was spent on fundraising, executive pay and perks like jet ski rentals, cruises and concert tickets." (NPR)

Making Cookies

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #158 on: November 05, 2015, 08:21:57 AM »
(By the way, lest people get the wrong impression, I'll state for the record that I do eat meat, and when I do I buy the cheap "conventional" stuff)

AHA, I KNEW IT!  :D  My meat and poultry come from farms 20 and 30 miles away respectively.

So what? I live in Atlanta, and Gainesville (the "poultry capital of the world") is 50 miles up the Interstate. Even my conventional chicken is local! But I guarantee your hippie chickens require just as much farmland used for grain as my industrial ones do, and thus are not significantly different in terms of environmental footprint.

Actually there's a Tyson farm 20 miles south of me and its processing plant is 20 miles north of me.  What got me interested in going sustainable was driving to work one morning and being behind a truck coming from the farm on the way to the plant with cages crammed with bedraggled, terrified chickens.  I never ate Tyson products anyway, but I know Perdue's not doing better, so I went sustainable.

I worked third shift in a Perdue chicken plant years ago for a few months. No thanks. Seriously altered my fast food intake too. All of our local stores have Perdue and Tyson products. Never Perdue and rarely (very rarely) Tyson.

I too would rather have something sustainable and local - and we do sometimes. We can buy beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, etc locally. You've got to plan ahead and it's only affordable I think when you own a deep freeze which we don't - yet.

Making Cookies

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #159 on: November 05, 2015, 08:29:18 AM »
Increased CO2 levels are overall a good thing for society. We are in a relatively low period of CO2 in the atmosphere, historically. CO2 is a nice self regulating thing since as it increases and temperatures increase plants grow more rapidly and consume more CO2. A warmer planet means more areas are inhabitable, more land can be used for productive means such as farming. More farmable land and faster plant growth means more food overall and cheaper food prices. This is beneficial to the poor everywhere and particularly to undernourished people where food shortages exist.

Considering all this the ebst I can figure is the environmentalists hate the poor, minorities, and those in third world countries. Given environmentalists tend to be liberals this is no surprise.



Are you joking? People don't really believe this shit do they.

I'm pretty sure people living hand to mouth don't care one whit about global-warming except whether it will kill them in the short term. To them it's throw another log on the fire, it's cold (if they have another log to throw on the fire). They obviously aren't going to wreck their food sources but I'll bet they'd eat every critter for miles if that is what it took to survive.

Environmentalism is for people who can worry about the earth dying while running electric lights and watching TV. ;)

Making Cookies

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #160 on: November 05, 2015, 08:33:28 AM »
I fly 2-3 times a year for family events. That will drop to 1 when the older generation is gone. I haven't flown on a vacation in years. I don't worry about the impact of something I do so rarely.

just before oscar night the number of private flights into LAX is off the charts - when the elites change their behavior i will change mine.  elites to the masses - do as i say not as i do.

The whims of a bunch of Hollywood celebs don't have a lot to do with my decisions about the environment or my own behavior.

Not that this should change your mind either:  But the same airport clog full of private jets happens when there are world conferences on climate change.

+1000

I figure conferences like those are for designing the next year's worth of reasons the rest of us ought to cut back on our consumption while the elite continues on consuming vast quantities of everything.

Another good reason to step off of the pop-culture binge our society does. Of course if worrying about the latest boy-band or NASCAR star keeps people happy rather than having a civil war every other generation - I'm good with it. I figure some people just need to be kept distracted like little kids to keep them out of trouble.

Making Cookies

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #161 on: November 05, 2015, 09:16:53 AM »
Seriously, even the oil companies don't question it. They've been researching how to mitigate (and benefit from) warming and other related effects for decades.

DoJ is actually considering charges against Exxon now that the disparity between its internally documented research and public statements has come to light.

http://graphics.latimes.com/exxon-arctic/

Anything and everything is possible in this GW debate when the long term effects are beyond a person's lifetime. Make bank in your lifetime, spend-spend-spend (party-party-party), and who cares what happens to the next generation. I really think that is what shapes a portion of the decisions made that affect all of us.

Some of these characters don't care what happens to the next generation (their children and grandchildren) b/c they assume their money will shield them from the consequences the longest. And the family unit isn't what it used to be for some folks. Tired of this spouse? She or he isn't going along with your plans or as much fun as they used to be? Get another. The kids aren't that important after all. Besides the nanny raises them anyhow.

When the consequences are ten years out then we will see action - even if it is too late. Until then I think there will be a good amount of FUD from one side (exaggerate the effects ot get people's attention) and a big portion of resistance from those protecting their cash cows (same old-same-old b/c it makes the maximum profit).

I figure the power elite will run us right off the cliff and it'll take multiple generations for the planet to sort itself back out and it will. In the meantime life will be tough on those not living the life of luxury.

zephyr911

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #162 on: November 05, 2015, 09:25:38 AM »
Does anyone CHECK and AUDIT these companies? Our town has have a bunch of charity bins all over town. Only recently has it come out that a number of them are not really charities after all.
You kind of answered your own question, although we're getting into two separate subjects (carbon offsets are commercially traded and generally aren't charities).

Here's one organization that rates charities based on the percentage of donations actually used for their stated goals: https://www.charitywatch.org/

Here's one that specializes in validating carbon offsets: http://www.scsglobalservices.com/carbon-offset-verification

Making Cookies

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #163 on: November 05, 2015, 09:29:21 AM »
re co2 offsetting:  Are all the systems tree based?  I have never looked into it.  Are there systems that pull co2 with algae and then store the carbon in blocks, could this work on a much shorter time frame?  Thought I had heard that algae was being looked at for this.  Might take more hands on effort than just planting a tree and waiting 60 years.
A quick check says there are 87,000 flights per day that crisscross the USA. How many people. Assuming 175 people per flight, and 365 days a year - well, you do the math. ;) Then all those international flights and all those people.

That's alot of trees.

Do whatever you want to.

I stay close to home, carpool, don't buy alot of stuff, etc. When I want to spend or travel, I do - but it isn't much.

zephyr911

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #164 on: November 05, 2015, 09:42:36 AM »
Related, just for fun:

music lover

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #165 on: November 06, 2015, 10:03:26 AM »
Anything and everything is possible in this GW debate when the long term effects are beyond a person's lifetime. Make bank in your lifetime, spend-spend-spend (party-party-party), and who cares what happens to the next generation. I really think that is what shapes a portion of the decisions made that affect all of us.

Some of these characters don't care what happens to the next generation (their children and grandchildren) b/c they assume their money will shield them from the consequences the longest. And the family unit isn't what it used to be for some folks. Tired of this spouse? She or he isn't going along with your plans or as much fun as they used to be? Get another. The kids aren't that important after all. Besides the nanny raises them anyhow.

When the consequences are ten years out then we will see action - even if it is too late. Until then I think there will be a good amount of FUD from one side (exaggerate the effects ot get people's attention) and a big portion of resistance from those protecting their cash cows (same old-same-old b/c it makes the maximum profit).

I figure the power elite will run us right off the cliff and it'll take multiple generations for the planet to sort itself back out and it will. In the meantime life will be tough on those not living the life of luxury.

The false assumption often made is that any and all consequences in the future can only be bad while all the known benefits of warming and increased CO2 are either ignored or downplayed. As you stated, the effects are exaggerated to get people's attention, and people now told they must pay to solve a problem that hasn't even been proven to exist (computer models are not proof).

A mom

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #166 on: November 06, 2015, 10:43:17 AM »
I listened to a podcast on Root Simple, where the guest, a physicist I believe, discussed the carbon impact of flying.
http://www.rootsimple.com/2015/02/039-climate-change-and-be-cycling-with-peter-kalmus/

I ran the numbers his way, and was dismayed. Then I repeated the numbers today using the links other folks provided. Here's what I am seeing:

I drive a plug-in Prius (charged mostly with solar power) and get about 100 mpg. I drive about 6000 miles per year, and at 20 pounds of carbon per gallon of gas I generate about 1200 pounds of CO2 per year for my family of 5.

I also visit my husband's family in Belgium once a year, flying from Baltimore, usually. On a typical 747-type plane, at about 0.512 pounds of Co2 per mile per passenger, my family of 5 uses over 19,000 pounds of CO2 for a once-a-year trip. In other words, despite having an efficient home, an efficient car and trying to eat a lower-carbon diet I am still using a crapload of resources due to flying.

I researched other ways to travel across the Atlantic, but they are slow, outragously expensive or not routinely available (no cargo ships routinely carry families).

I'd consider not going at all, but I don't want the family to disown me! And it is in some ways my second home too.

Thanks for pointing this out. I still think that many people vastly underestimate  the CO2 emissions of flying.

spinner

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #167 on: November 08, 2015, 12:23:33 PM »
Gave up flying after an encounter in Morocco on my bike. Was travelling around and doing what the guide book suggested - stopping at oases to get dates for an energy boost. Stopped at several one day and there were no dates. Finally, at one,  a guy spoke enough English to explain that the desert is moving north due to climate change and the date palms have all died in this area. This farmer was going to take his family to the city to look for work, since he couldn't grow anything anymore. Haven't flown since and that was 2007.

I'd been a vegetarian for 18 years, vegan for 10, owned no car, was a science teacher who taught about the greenhouse effect for many decades, so I guess I was part way to understanding my effect on the climate, but this put a face to what I personally was ignoring - the consequences of my flying.

Been a great decision, though it was several years before I stopped feeling deprived of 'exotic' vacations. I now use Amtrak/VIArail for all my distance trips (I can even take my bike that way!), now know way more about my own country (Canada) and have found lots of 'exotic places in the USA!