Our preliminary Carbon Footprint for Convocation 2008 is an approximation based on best case assumptions regarding participant air and car travel, hotel nights, and venues.
Overall, we calculated that participants flew well over one million air miles, racked up over 6,000 car miles and stayed a total of 882 hotel nights.
For the MIT venues, we were was able to approximate based on excellent data and square footage of the buildings provided by Peter Cooper, Manager of Sustainable Engineering and Utility Planning Engineering at MIT.
All this was translated into pounds of CO2 and converted into metric tons:
Hotel Nights: 25.03
Car Miles: 2.74
Air Miles: 184.26
MIT Venues: 4.29
Total Metric Tons of CO2=216.33
Our carbon offset for this event was purchased through http://www.terrapass.com.
There has been much focus in the press and at MIT on green house gas emissions and carbon footprints. And carbon offsets, while controversial (are these just the “easy” ways out of dealing with global climate change?), are part of a general trend towards “de-carbonizing” our economies — a topic addressed directly by the knowledgeable faculty at MIT's S-Lab.
MIT students have helped develop the MIT Carbon Matrix and this fall there will be an updated analysis of MIT's full carbon and green house gas footprint.
The Sloan Fellows Class of 2009 is assessing their personal carbon and greenhouse gas footprints for their year, including for Convocation 2008. As these are developed this, we will post them here.
There are multiple calculators available for assessing one's own carbon footprint. The University of New Hampshire has put together a handy action guide and links for those interested in learning more … and doing something about it.
There are multiple carbon offset programs — and differences in theories, formulas and strategies for offsets. Essentially, offset programs allow you to “offset” your impact on global warming through the investments in alternative energy research and development, in renewable energy projects, in reforestation and in other projects that help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
The important factor in selecting an offset program is to assure that they receive third-party verification. MIT has chosen TerraPass but other such programs include Carbon Fund, Cool Driver, and Native Energy.