A little while ago I posted a summary of my carbon footprint and noted that my New Years resolution was to spend an hour a week trying to do something about climate change. The main thing I have done since then is think about the sources of my carbon footprint and reflect upon ways in which I can reduce it. It is apparent that the major source of my footprint is transportation. My lifestyle, which is a fairly modest Western one, and my home energy consumption also contribute significantly to my carbon consumption.
The biggest single part of my carbon consumption is air travel. If I were to drop air travel from my lifestyle I would reduce my carbon consumption by almost half. If my family was to get rid of its car and I stopped traveling by air I could get my carbon consumption down to about 6 mtc. That is still three times the target goal for individual carbon consumption. Reducing my carbon consumption further would require me to essentially drop out of Western culture. This underscores my assertion that climate change can only be addressed at a societal level. Simply making lifestyle choices is not going to fix it.
I may decide to give up air travel. I am not ready to do so at this particular juncture. It would be a very dramatic, life altering step, that I would need to think through in depth. As an interim step, I have started investigating carbon offsets and whether they actually contain the possibility of reducing my carbon footprint. I have compiled a bibliography of about half a dozen scholarly articles on the subject. In the next couple of weeks I will post the summaries of their arguments and some sort of synthesis of my own thoughts on offsets.