Earlier this year I listened to a teleconferenced talk on climate change by Professor David Suzuki. David has been a regular visitor to Australia over the years so I wondered why he teleconferenced. He explained that he was concerned about the carbon emissions associated with his travel. I applauded his lack of hypocrisy and thought vaguely about my own repeated sins in this regard.
After flying Qantas to attend the Urban Energy and Carbon Modeling Workshop in Bangkok (organized by the Global Carbon Project).I was pleased to see that the Workshop organizers had calculated the carbon budget of the meetings (104.14 tons of CO2) and had paid $1831-50US towards an offset via the firm Climate Friendly who would invest the proceeds in a Chinese wind energy project.
This is more than a symbolic act although it does have important symbolic effects. It may not provide a total offset – it is an investment of the value of our carbon emissions (valued at $20.17US per ton) and this should provide a comparable offset to our carbon emissions provided that the wind energy project is approximately efficient and the price on carbon emissions is about right.
By the way 98% of our carbon emissions were associated with our plane journeys. The other 2% were associated with our 4 day stay in an air conditioned hotel.