How To Calculate Your Carbon Footprint From Travel

By Holly Riddle

If you’re looking to offset your carbon footprint, you want to know the impact you’re having on the environment. To do that, you need to calculate your carbon footprint accurately. There are a lot of tools on the internet to help you do this, but many are geared toward the average consumer and calculate things like electricity usage and miles driven on a regular basis. While these aspects of your life are important, for a frequent traveler, you may be more worried about how your travel specifically impacts your carbon footprint. 

Here are a few ways you can calculate your carbon footprint with frequent travel included. Or, some allow you to calculate your carbon footprint as it relates to travel only. 

Websites that calculate your footprint

Some of these options include Native Energy, which not only allows you to calculate the footprint of your travel, but also your household and event footprints. MyClimate, allows you to calculate your carbon footprint from flights, driving and cruises.

Terrapass gives you the option to calculate your carbon footprint from either personal or business travel. ClimateCare’s calculator automatically tells you how much money you would have to pay to offset your carbon footprint. Lastly, Carbon Footprint gives you the additional advantage of providing options to add rail, motorbike and bus travel into your calculations. 

Using these, you’re able to see the environmental cost of that work trip out to the East Coast or that weekend away with the girls to Miami or even your honeymoon to Paris.

calculate carbon footprint flying
Every flight has a different impact. Discover what yours is by calculating your carbon footprint | TIM GOUW

How much it would cost to offset a flight

  • A one-way flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco in economy class results in 0.153 tons of CO2. You would need to pay $4 to offset it.
  • A round-trip flight from Los Angeles to New York in economy class results in 3.9 tons of CO2. Costing $36 to offset.
  • A round-trip flight from New York to Paris in business class results in 3.6 tons of CO2. You would need to pay $100 to offset this amount of CO2.
  • A round-trip flight from Newark to Miami in economy class results in 0.644 tons of CO2. You would need to pay $18 to offset this amount of CO2.  

To put that in perspective, in order to stop climate change completely, MyClimate made an estimation. Their research indicates the maximum amount of CO2 each person can generate in a year is 0.600 tons total. All actions and impacts considered. Unfortunately, the average annual amount of CO2 generated by a single person is more. In the United States alone, the average is 14.95 metric tons, according to the World Economic Forum.

Once you’ve determined the environmental impact created from your travel, you can then react accordingly. Whether that’s purchasing carbon footprint offset credits or just taking a closer look at how you can minimize the environmental impact of your travel.