I found a carbon footprint calculator at An Inconvenient Truth and am horrified to admit that my family currently comes in well above the national average at 12.35 tons of carbon per person. We’ve made a lot of progress over the last two years, moving from a 4000 sq foot heating oil-based house in the country to a 3000 sq foot natural gas-based house 15 minutes closer to work. We also traded in our 20mpg Subaru and 25mpg Nissan pickup for a 33mpg Matrix and 38mpg Civic. Still there is work to do.
I’ve been reading George Monbiot for some time and a large part of his plan is eliminating air travel. I didn’t really believe air travel had that big an impact, but from the calculator I see that this is true. We barely ever fly, just once a year to California to visit my wife’s parents. This year I made an additional flight to Seattle on business. That’s 10 long flights. If I take those flights out of the equation we go from 12.35 to 7.45, a 40% reduction. 7.5 tons is about the national average. This is of course still way too high, but reducing air travel clearly offers the biggest bang for the buck.
The next step would be to cut my driving in half. Most of my mileage is commute. There’s a bus that goes right by my house, and a friend has offered to carpool.