Air travel is a major contributor to climate change. Offsets are a small part of a larger solution.
Today at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) we are launching the Climate Passport program allowing travelers to offset the impact of their air travel through an airport kiosk. This will be the world’s first airport kiosk—giving people the opportunity to calculate the environmental impact of their flights and purchase carbon offsets to address that impact while at the airport.
Where does the money go? The City has conducted extensive research on each project supported by the program to ensure that all carbon offsets are sourced from a specific project that results in real, quantifiable, permanent greenhouse gas emission reductions.
The offsets for Climate Passport customers, supplied by San Francisco based carbon firm 3Degrees, are currently sourced from the Garcia River Forest, a conservation-based forest management project located in Mendocino County, California. Formerly a heavily cut forest, this project is helping bring back Redwood and Douglas fir trees to the Garcia River Forest. As a result, huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) are absorbed and stored, and native habitats are restored and protected. Offsets from the Garcia River Forest Project are third-party verified against the Climate Action Reserve’s rigorous, transparent and comprehensive forestry protocol.
A portion of the offset sales will also go to the San Francisco Carbon Fund, helping to develop local San Francisco carbon reduction projects. The first project supported by the fund is Dogpatch Biofuels, San Francisco’s only publicly-owned biodiesel filling station. It is estimated the Dogpatch project will reduce as much as 660,000 pounds of CO2 in its first year of operation. Offsets will also help to pay for the planting of urban trees in San Francisco.
Knowing the climate impact of travel is a good first step. Taking actions like using public transportation or opting to ride a bicycle when you can is important. For the times when we have to fly, balancing your climate footprint by supporting high quality carbon reduction projects will help California in its fight against climate change.
Look for the new Climate Passport kiosks post-security on both sides of the International Terminal and in Terminal 3 at SFO.
Photo Credit: ricardo-pereira via Flickr under Creative Commons License.
Gavin Newsom, 41, is the youngest San Francisco mayor in over a century. Newsom, the son of William and Tessa Newsom, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship, graduating in 1989 with a B.A. in political science. After only 36 days as mayor, Newsom gained worldwide attention when he granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This bold move set the tone for Newsom’s first term. Under his energetic leadership, the economy grew and jobs were created. The city became a center for biotech and clean tech. He initiated a plan to bring universal health care to all of the city’s uninsured residents. And Newsom aggressively pursued local solutions to global climate change. In 2007, Newsom was re-elected with over 73% of the vote. Since then he has built upon the successes of his first term, launching new environmental initiatives and a comprehensive strategy to transform one of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods into a life sciences, digital media, and clean tech center.