San Francisco International Airport Offers Voluntary CO2 "Climate Passport" Offset Kiosks

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 18 (UPI) — Travelers passing through San Francisco International Airport can volunteer to pay a fee to help offset their flight’s carbon emission, airport officials said.

The program, which features three “Climate Passport” kiosks, is being promoted as a first-of-its-kind effort among U.S. airports to help reverse damage caused by carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, the San Jose Mercury reported Friday.

At the kiosks, travelers enter their flight’s origin and destination, number of passengers in their party and whether they will be flying round-trip. A computer program calculates a fee — payable by credit card — that will contribute to emission-reduction efforts, the newspaper said. The kiosks charge a non-tax-deductible $13.50 per ton of emissions.

For every $13.50 collected, $12 is donated to reforestation efforts at the 23,780-acre Garcia River Forest in Mendocino County, and $1.50 helps fund green initiatives in San Francisco, said Chris Kelly of the Conservation Fund, which manages the forest. Each acre of the forest absorbs three tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Airport officials said they have no idea how successful the program will be. The airport spent $190,000 on the three kiosks.

Steve McDougal, vice president of 3Degrees, the San Francisco company overseeing the program, said the effort likely would appeal more to travelers who “feel empowered to doing something bigger” rather than travelers feeling guilty over their plane’s CO2 emissions.

“You ask somebody to stop and pay some additional money,” said McDougal.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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