Cut Your Carbon in the Check-in Line

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mn-carbon18_ph1_0500607846.jpgAirlines have been tacking on fees for almost everything these days, and we’re as tired of being nickel-and-dimed as the next guy. But we were glad to hear that San Francisco’s SFO airport is the first in the nation to provide on-site kiosks that will enable travelers to help cover the cost of their carbon footprint. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

On Thursday [of last week], the Bay Area’s largest airport unveiled three Climate Passport kiosks with touch screens that determine how many pounds of carbon dioxide a trip will produce, calculate the sum an environmentally conscious traveler should contribute to projects in San Francisco and California that help reduce greenhouse gases, then allow fliers to purchase certified carbon offsets.

A typical cross-country flight from SFO to Boston creates 1,999 pounds of carbon dioxide, and the suggested offset cost is $12.24. (The kiosks themselves cost the airport a whopping $190,000 to install.) The the funds collected from the kiosks, which are placed at the entrance to Terminal 3 and international terminals A and G, will go to the Garcia River Forest, a reforestation project in a heavily-logged region of Mendocino County, as well as the SFCarbon Fund, which will steer money to Dogpatch Biofuels, a bio-diesel fueling station in San Francisco.

While scientists still argue about the value of offsets (you can see a further discussion of that at National Geographic’s Green Guide), many acknowledge that they’re a worthwhile option for those who are also attempting to reduce their footprint in other ways. I think it’s an interesting concept, and if anything, it gets travelers to think about the environmental impact of flying more often.

What’s your take on the new kiosks in San Francisco?

[via Mother Jones]

Photo: Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle