Saturday, May 03, 2008

One more post then I'll stop.

It made me happy and I wanted to share.

We have gone carbon-neutral. From now on, every hour we fly, we pay TerraPass to offset our carbon emissions. Even in our light jet, 2 hours of operation generates the same amount of C02 as a year's worth of running my Honda Civic Hybrid, so I wanted to do something about that.

Our parent company is in the business of alternate power generation, and it made sense to keep in line with that corporate culture, as well as making me feel a little less ashamed of the state I'll be leaving the planet in for my children and grandchildren.

This system isn't perfect, and I understand that. In a perfect world we would be able to use non-polluting fuel, and our carbon emissions would be zero. That option is not available to us currently, and until it is, this is one of the things we can do.

I would be interested in listening to what you think we could do in addition to our carbon offsets - I am always on the lookout for ways to minimize our environmental impact.

I am not forgetting about what we are doing to the environment, which is why we initiated carbon offsets. I am still conscious that it is a bit of a shell game - it's not like the carbon is being captured or anything, but we are paying for others to reduce their CO2 emissions while we wait for the technology to become available to actually reduce ours.

We hope to do more in the future, but I think this is a decent start. If you fly, I encourage you to research carbon offsets. The cost is a lot lower than you might think - through TerraPass, our cost works out to about $17/hour for 160 gallons/hour of Jet-A. A small price to pay, really.

17 comments:

Pat said...

it's simply bullshit to me!
Paying for polluting....this is a way to give oneself a good consciousness...just pay and forget about what's you're actually doing to the environment.

Colin Summers said...

Welcome to the club!

http://www.flyingsummers.com/2007/09/25/algore/

Colin Summers said...

Oh. And, obviously, I disagree with Pat. Money makes a difference. If that money eventually winds up in the hands of a third world country and keeps them from burning fuel in a really dirty way, it affects the environment.

In fact, it affects the environment MORE than just taking a two minute shower in the morning (or whatever silly tree hugger behavior mod you are trying out).

Sulako said...

Pat, I agree that it isn't perfect. In a perfect world we would be able to use non-polluting fuel. But that option is not available to us, and until it is, this is the best we can do. I would be interested in listening to what you think we could do in addition to our carbon offsets - I am always on the lookout for ways to minimize our environmental impact.

I am not forgetting about what we are doing to the environment, which is why we initiated carbon offsets. I am still conscious that it is a bit of a shell game - it's not like the carbon is being captured or anything, but at we are paying for others to reduce their CO2 emissions while we wait for the technology to become available to actually reduce ours.

I'm going to add this to my blog entry also

fche said...

> But that option ["non-pulluting fuel"]
> not available to us, and until it is,
> this is the best we can do.

Chances are that you'll get about as much
marketing value out of this feel-good
do-nothing exercise as it's going to cost
you.

Sulako said...

I understand that it's pretty easy to criticize, but I have yet to hear an alternate suggestion.

About the marketing part - fche, that is pretty cynical. The vast majority of our flights are company flights, which we obviously don't need to spend advertising to get. On top of that, I don't think this is a particularly powerful marketing tool as most of our charter customers drive gas guzzling cars and I'm not sure the state of the environment is very high up on their list of concerns. I'm mostly doing this for me.

What I'm getting from the feedback is that I shouldn't bother buying carbon offsets, I shouldn't bother even attempting to make some sort of change.

Again, I'm certainly open to suggestions on how to minimize our impact on the planet. So let's go with your argument, that this does nothing. What is a way that I can help offset the effects of our operation?

david said...

If your customers were willing you could switch to a King Air (100 gph) or PC-12 (60-70 gph) and burn considerably less fuel with the same load, arriving within a few minutes of the same time for most of the trips you've described in the blog (eastern U.S. and Canada).

Carbon offsets are well-intentioned, but I'm not sure whether they're actually a way to help the environment, or just a way for us to deal with our guilt. Burning less fuel, on the other hand, definitely works.

Pat said...

I agree with David.
The only solution to me is burn less fuel.

phil said...

can you fly slower and save fuel, like some airlines are doing now?

david said...

Carry more people. If you carry two passengers, you're burning 80 gallons/passenger/hour; if you carry four passengers, you're burning 40 gallons/passenger/hour; etc.

Organizations like Hope Air can fill some of the empty seats with deserving non-emergency medical patients and their escorts, but we need a more effective way to make sure that bizjets aren't flying with empty seats as often. If you are flying two people to NYC and your competitor is flying two people to NYC on the same day (both coming back in the evening), jet-pooling halves the environmental impact (and cost) of the trip. Maybe we could also organize taking along charity workers, etc. who need to travel from city to city and might be a bit flexible with their schedules.

And what about high-priority, low-volume cargo? If a heart or liver needs to go from Toronto to Montreal for transplant, would it be possible to send it on the next bizjet leaving Pearson than to dedicate a separate plane or helicopter to the flight?

There are lots of things companies like yours can do, but they all involve changing the way you do business, not just paying a bit for offsets.

fche said...

Sully:

> I'm mostly doing this for me.

That's OK, especially if it comes out of your own pocket.

> What is a way that I can help offset the
> effects of our operation?

To ask that question begs the question.
There is no one you need to apologize
to for doing an entirely legal job:
certainly not to some weird company
that just makes up a price tag in
exchange for electronically transferred
relief.

Maybe there is a connection here to
your other post re. competitors.
Don't feel so darned guilty about stuff!

Just do a good job for reasonable rates
and let the rest of the wacky world sort
itself out.

luckymacy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luckymacy said...

Let's get the channel back to under age dating and piloting. Do you fly any acro or do anything fun? How about some mile high flying with Lisa since she's obviously in to planes? I checked in to see if the March post that said Lisa had a few words to add had come to 'fruition'. It's May now dammit! Get on with it, you two ;-)

BTW, I just totally reject this Liberal crap about hurting the environment. I can't wait to burn some 100LL this afternoon and laugh at your carbon credits. At its source is wool-over-the-publics-eye scientific BS and cover up the equivalent to a real life DiVinci code. You can find a lot of people writing now who will be "visionarys" down the road when the facts continue not to match Al Gore's world. Designed for him to profit from as he collects easy money from a new generation of environmental wackos seeking him on their boards. Its become more of a cult than ever. Here's an example of ignored reality the nut cases buying carbon neutral credits just can't deal with at the moment.
Sacrificing many trillions of dollars of GDP for a trivial, 45-year-delayed and merely hypothetical reduction in average global temperature must be considered as exponentially more asinine than the dot-bombs of the late-1990s and the NINJA subprime loans that we now look upon scornfully.

So who in their right mind would push for this?

I met many of them up-close-and-personal last week at a major Wall Street Journal conference at which I was an invited speaker. My fellow speakers included many CEOs (from General Electric, Wal-Mart, Duke Energy and Dow Chemical, to name just a few), California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the heads of several environmental activist groups.

The audience — a sold-out crowd of hundreds who had to apply to be admitted and pay a $3,500 fee — consisted of representatives of the myriad businesses that seek to make a financial killing from climate alarmism.

There were representatives of the solar, wind and biofuel industries that profit from taxpayer mandates and subsidies, representatives from financial services companies that want to trade permits to emit CO2, and public relations and strategic consultants to all of the above.

We libertarians would call such an event a rent-seekers ball — the vast majority of the audience was there to plot how they could lock in profits from government mandates on taxpayers and consumers. It was an amazing collection of pseudo-entrepreneurs who were absolutely impervious to the scientific and economic facts that ought to deflate the global warming bubble.

In the interlude between presentations by the CEOs of Dow Chemical and Duke Energy, for example, the audience was shown a slide — similar to this one — of the diverging relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and average global temperature since 1998.

That slide should have caused jaws to drop and audience members to ponder why anyone is considering regulating CO2 emissions in hopes of taming global climate. Instead, it was as if the audience did a collective blink and missed the slide entirely. When I tried to draw attention to the slide during my presentation, it was as if I were speaking in a foreign dialect.

The only conclusion I could come to was that the audience is so steeped in anticipation of climate profiteering that there is no fact that will cause them to reconsider whether or not manmade global warming is a reality. The callousness of their blind greed was also on display at the conference.

In an instantaneous poll, the Wall Street Journal asked the audience to select the most pressing societal problem from a list of five that included infectious disease (malaria, AIDs, etc.), terrorism and global warming. Global warming was the most popular response, receiving 31 percent of the vote, while infectious disease was far behind in last place with only 3 percent of the vote.

It’s an amazing result given that billions are sickened and millions die every year from infectious disease. The consequences of future global warming, on the other hand, are entirely speculative.

Finally, I was astounded by the double-speak practiced by the global warmers. Virtually every speaker at the conference professed that they were either in favor of free markets or that they supported a free-market solution to global warming. But invariably in their next breath, they would plead for government regulation of greenhouse gases and government subsidies for alternative energy.

It’s hard to conceive of any good coming from a public policy in which facts play no substantial role in its development and words have no meaning in its public debate.
Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and DemandDebate.com. He is a junk science expert, advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

redwoodcyclist said...

Yawn...I love libertarians. If only the rest of us were as smart as they are. They have all the answers - it's a conspiracy! Junk science! Rent seeking! I guess the world is wrong and the handful of libertarians is right. Thanks for setting me straight.
Sulako, be a libertarian, exercise your right to choose to buy carbon offsets.

Anonymous said...

check out DESMOG blog to see the variety and persistence of deniers and their sugar daddy corporations. C'mon. Who does not know that they are of the same cynical ilk as the deniers of tobacco harm? If you fly you already know the earth is not flat.

doru said...

How about planting some trees? They do take CO2 from the atmosphere, and they produce oxygen and so forth. I don't know how many trees of which sort have to be planted to offset 1 hr of carbon emissions from your plane, but it's doing something

david said...

doru: planting trees does remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but The Economist reported a while back on a study that planting trees in temperate areas (such as Canada) might actually make a (very small) net *increase* to global warming through side effects -- I don't remember if it had to do with ground cover or moisture retention/generation, but it was surprising (at least for me). Planting trees in the tropics definitely helped, though.