Friday, 23 April 2010

Fretting over Ferry Carbon Offsets

Since hearing that ferries produced half as much carbon per passenger mile as the well publicised bad boys of the air  I started to consider the impact of  our quarterly cross channel trips.  It didn't occur to me that this type journey wasn't 'green'.  Duuuh! - a great big ship belching out muck and consuming loads of oil - what was I thinking!

I had little success on-line in trying to ascertain the amount of carbon that I needed to offset. There's a website called Ferrygreen  on which you're supposed to be able to do this but perhaps the recent volcanic disruption messed it up and I had little joy  when I tried to input the 183km Plymouth-Roscoff route that we usually take. So I contacted our excellent local ferry company, Brittany Ferries  who advised me that a survey by the Passenger Shipping Association concluded that the average car ferry emitted 0.10kg of carbon dioxide every kilometre that an each passenger travels.  Now the cost of carbon offset varies dependent on the type of project supported, but is currently between £7.50 and £16 per tonne.   A quick calculation suggested that carbon emissions for our ferry crossings each year were only estimated to be  0.44 tonnes so a  donation of £10 would be more than sufficient to compensate for damage done.

So, does this give me a warm and fuzzy feeling?  Not reall
y.  Although I am only one quarter Catholic from a familial point of view, the Church of Rome's guilt gene must be a pretty dominant thing.   What I have learnt is everything has a cost and although it is easy to dole out a wad this is not ideal.  Gaining an appreciation of the effect of our personal consumption and making  practical changes to reduce this is a more satisfactory and satisfying solution.  And air travel is so carbon hungry that the frequency of trips, especially long haul really do need to be minimised.

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