Offset CO2 From Your Summer Travel

Updated: Sep 30

Did you travel this summer? One of our supporters, Clare, traveled to New Jersey this summer, and offset the CO2 from her flight by making a donation to Green Interchange. Green Interchange planted trees on her behalf, offsetting carbon emissions and adding beauty to her local community. If you took a summer vacation, whether by car, plane, train or some other mode of transportation, you can follow in Clare’s footsteps and offset CO2 from your summer travel.



Step One - Calculating the Travel Emissions

Clare calculated the emissions from her flight using the Carbon Footprint™ calculator. Like other calculators you may choose to use, this can be used to calculate your entire CO2 footprint. Alternatively, you can simply run calculations for flights, driving, or other energy use.


She found that the CO2 emissions from the round trip flights for her and her husband was .91 metric tons of CO2 (she checked the box to include radiative forcing because planes flying at a higher altitude have an increased effect on climate change.)


Clare decided not to calculate the emissions from her car travel to the airport or from the rental car, because she is already offsetting her annual car emissions through a monthly donation to Green Interchange.


Step Two - Determining How Many Trees Will Offset the CO2


On Green Interchange’s Donate page, Clare found the section “How We Calculate CO2 Offsets.” She learned that 12 trees planted should absorb 9,300 pounds of CO2 over a 25 years period, which is 4.2 metric tons of CO2. Based on this, she estimated that planting 2.6 trees would offset the CO2 from her flight over a 25 year period.


Step Three - Making a Donation to Plant Trees


Green Interchange estimates an “all-in” cost of $6 per tree planted at a roadway, waterway, or in another public space where the trees will make an important impact. At $6 per tree, Clare would need to make a donation of $15.60 for Green Interchange to plant 2.6 trees on her behalf.


In this case, Clare wanted to offset her CO2 more quickly than 25 years, so she chose to have more trees planted on her behalf to reach the full offset more quickly. She decided to plant 16 trees with a donation of $96. This was about 12% of the cost of the plane tickets, and she felt that this was a reasonable “premium” to pay given the large amount of emissions from plane travel.


Clare told us she was excited to donate to Green Interchange because, “I know the team has a lot of expertise and long-term success planting trees in Tennessee. Many carbon offset programs implement their programs in other countries, so I was happy to know the carbon would be offset locally, in the United States.”


Because Green Interchange plants many of the trees near roadways and waterways, Clare said she was pleased that, in addition to offsetting CO2 emissions, the trees will provide many other benefits to these areas. “I highly encourage anyone who has concerns about the wildfires, droughts, floods and other impacts of climate change to offset their CO2 emissions. Green Interchange will plant trees on your behalf. It is a positive action you can take that can make a real difference.”


Photo by Apostolos Vamvouras on Unsplash