SFO Fliers May Pay Their Way In Carbon Useage

CaptJax

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S.F. fliers may pay their way in carbon usage

Michael Cabanatuan, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


(12-23) 20:33 PST --

Environmentally conscious travelers flying out of San Francisco International Airport will soon be able to assuage their guilt and minimize the impact of their air travel by buying certified carbon offsets at airport kiosks.

The experimental program, scheduled to start this spring, would make SFO the first airport in the nation - possibly the world - to offer fliers the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets.

"We'd like people to stop and consider the impacts of flying," said Steve McDougal, executive vice president for 3Degrees, a San Francisco firm that sells renewable-energy and carbon-reduction investments and is teaming up with the airport and the city on the project. "Obviously, people need to fly sometimes. No one expects them to stop, but they should consider taking steps to reduce their impacts."

San Francisco's Airport Commission has authorized the program, which will involve a $163,000 investment from SFO, but is still working out the details with 3Degrees. Because of that, McDougal said, he can't yet discuss specifics, such as the cost to purchase carbon offsets and what programs would benefit from travelers' purchases.

But the general idea, officials said, is that a traveler would approach a kiosk resembling the self-service check-in stations used by airlines, then punch in his or her destination. The computer would calculate the carbon footprint and the cost of an investment to offset the damage. The traveler could then swipe a credit card to help save the planet. Travelers would receive a printed receipt listing the projects benefiting from their environmental largesse.

The carbon offsets are not tax deductible, said Krista Canellakis, a 3Degrees spokeswoman.

"While the carbon offsets purchased at kiosks can't be seen or touched, they are an actual product with a specific environmental claim whose ownership is transferred at the time of purchase," she said.

Mike McCarron, airport spokesman, said the projects offered will be chosen by the mayor's office, in conjunction with 3Degrees, from a list certified by the city's Environment Department. Airport Director John Martin told the commission that projects could include renewable energy ventures in developing countries, agriculture and organic waste capture, coal mine methane capture, and sustainable forestry.

Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom, said a portion of each offset purchase would go to the San Francisco Carbon Fund, which supports local projects such as energy-efficiency programs and solar panel installations for low-income housing, as well as efforts to convert waste oils into biodiesel fuels.

The cost of offsets for SFO travelers is still being negotiated, McDougal said, but figures on the company's Web-based "carbon calculator" suggest that a two-hour trip uses about 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per person, and the cost to offset that would be about $4. Offsetting a trip to Europe would cost $36.

"It's definitely not going to double your ticket or anything," he said. "It's going to end up being a small percentage of your total airfare."

Under the agreement, the airport will provide the kiosks and 3Degrees will supply the software and the certified carbon offsets being sold and will operate the program. Kiosks will be placed throughout the airport, with locations at the customer service desk in Terminal 3 and two wings of the International Terminal. 3Degrees will get 30 percent of each purchase, with the rest going to carbon-reduction projects. The agreement calls for a one-year program, with a possible extension.

"The carbon kiosks will not only reduce global warming," Ballard said, "they will serve an educational function. It's something interesting to do while you're killing time at the airport."

Given the innovative nature of the venture, airport officials said they don't expect 3Degrees will turn a profit - at least not at the outset. McDougal said it's impossible to predict how many passengers will want to make what is essentially a voluntary contribution to compensate for the impacts of their air travel. But he hopes the program takes off.

"Hopefully, it will be successful," he said. "But if we just have a lot of people stop and read the information and think about it, that's something we've accomplished."

E-mail Michael Cabanatuan at mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com.
 

dispatchguy

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Cant we just shoot these people and get it overwith?
 

MD11Drvr

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The next profit synergy for the management team to tap. Hellfire they have tapped everything else and these folks are asking to be financially gang raped.

MORONS!
 

enuffalready

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My guess is that this is a total flop. When you ask people to give up THEIR OWN money to save the earth, they never do. The only money raised is when they tax and give away OTHERS PEOPLES money, then stand at a podium excited about the baseless benefit to mother earth with factless drivel.
 
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Papa Woody

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When you ask people to give up THEIR OWN money to save the earth, they never do. The only money raised is when they tax and give away OTHERS PEOPLES money, then stand at a podium excited about the baseless benefit to mother earth with factless drivel.
You just summarized the credo of Liberalism.
 

CapnVegetto

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So where exactly does this 'carbon offset' money go? In somebody's pocket?
 

flynryan15

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Cant we just shoot these people and get it overwith?
Only if you pay for the carbon the muzzle flash is going to produce:uzi:

You have to admit SFO is the perfect test market. Those Hippies out there will throw money at anything if they thing they are saving the world:eek:
 

Dude

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And you thought folks were pissed about paying extra for their bags to tavel with them........
 

Chief Pilot

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Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom, said a portion of each offset purchase would go to the San Francisco Carbon Fund, which supports local projects such as energy-efficiency programs and solar panel installations for low-income housing, as well as efforts to convert waste oils into biodiesel fuels.
No doubt the other "portion" would go into some political slush fund.
 

Stifler's Mom

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Are these the same freaks that are protesting the new football stadium at UC Berkley (Cal) by living in trees and ********************ting in buckets?
 

AA717driver

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Carbon credits are a joke. They don't stop pollution, they are just salve for the conscience of the weak-minded.

You want to put up solar panels, windmills and drive a hybrid or ride a bike, good for you. You're actually accomplishing something.

You want to fly and drive a Suburban and buy carbon offsets to help the environment--neutralize your impact, you're a hypocrite or a moron.

There are some really good things we can do to help the environment out there. This isn't one of them.

TC

P.S.--Don't make this a Liberal v. Conservative argument. I've been F#@ked by both...
 

ATRCAPT

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SkiFishFly

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There's a sucker born every minute...

These idiots buying carbon offsets really need to check where their "feel good" money is going. Have a friend who has been in Japan for a couple of years - they are big into paying for carbon offsets. Problem is a lot of money is going to some dictator in Africa (can't remember which one) who has made a lot of money (thus keeping himself in power) selling "carbon offsets".
 

AA717driver

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Carbon Offsets is just another "vehicle" for commodities traders to make money. It's a shell game.

TC
 

Captain Morgan

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I'm going to incorporate, sell carbon offsets and rake in the dough. These people should be without their money if they're stupid enough. "A fool and their money will soon be depart..."
 
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