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Hal Levin

A really cool web site that includes a great airline carbon calculator allowing graphic or direct entry of origin and destination is at http://chooseclimate.org and click on "flying off to a warmer climate."

On the air travel page, it explains why emissions injected into the upper atmosphere are so much more significant (approximately 3X as climate forcing) as the same emissions at ground level. It gives a quick primer on the relevant issues.

The home page includes a java climate model that allows the user to play around with the important variables at one of three levels of sophistication/detail. While this is pretty old and may be out of date, it is a really handy tool, and I know of no equivalent that is so accessible and instructive.


Hal, your site has a lot more detail than the one I linked to, thanks!


Hi there Marc! I did a similar exercise for my 2009 energy consumption (note that I was calculating it in terms of source Btu, not carbon). I found a similar result--airplane flights were a huge portion of my total.

2010-02-19: The Big Energy Picture



Who knows what exactly are all the assumptions buried in the different forms of transport energy use? For example, a motorcycle is shown as being better than an Insight, and as a former motorcycle owner I can say I never had a bike worth calling a motorcycle that got 60 mpg. Yes, if you have a Honda 100 you'll do better, but you'll get beat up on the highway too.

The basic point that transport is a killer is borne out here, except that if Kohta didn't fly, it would be true that he uses more energy at home than in transport. Thanks, Kohta!

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