41.4 tons to make a film?

Carbon offset schmes have, well, too often seemed just like that to me.   Having read up on them (too much, I must say), at the end of the day I remained confused, unconvinced, and concerned. There are honest ones out there, I promise, just not sure that I am ready to fully endorse any of them. 

In another of what seems to be many both serious examinations and journalistic looks that raise serious questions, the LA Times published Can you buy a greener conscience? 

In this, there is one thing that really surprised me.  An Inconvenient Truth — a worldchanging film — was carbon neutral. We all know that. Okay …

What surprised me in the article was the following

Co-producer Lesley Chilcott used an online calculator to estimate that shooting the film used 41.4 tons of carbon dioxide and paid a middleman, a company called Native Energy, $12 a ton, or $496.80, to broker a deal to cut greenhouse gases elsewhere. The film’s distributors later made a similar payment to neutralize carbon dioxide from the marketing of the movie.

41.4 tons?  82,800 pounds of carbon dioxide?  Is that really all?

Let’s think about this a moment.

A gallon of gasoline burned emits about 20 pounds of Co2. AIT was filmed and produced with just 4140 gallons of gasoline burned?

How many plane flights were taken? (It is roughly 100 gallons of fuel for a cross country flight (or 2000 pounds of CO2).) How many miles did cameramen drive?

And, well, that is only thinking about gasoline.  What about the electricity to power the editing studios?

To be honest, I would like to see the calculation and data that produced a figure of 41.4 tons. It just doesn’t pass the sniff test, in my opinion.

Okay, considering how cheap the offsets are per ton of CO2, it is hard to believe that there was a purposeful attempt to skirt the data, to make the number lower.  I am just wondering if, for example, a decimal point got put in the wrong place somewhere.

Mr Craig … ready to share that data?

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