By the time you read this, I'll be at a comfortable cruising altitude -- and spewing CO2 into the atmosphere at an alarming rate. (Calm down ... I've offset the flight. Thanks, Native Energy!)How exactly is this offsetting the carbon her plane will emit? Native Energy purchases Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) with the money you pay them--$8/mth for 10,000 kW-hr/yr. (That works out to 9.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, about 2 cents/kW-hr more than the green power offered by my power company Pacific Power.) In other words, they take your money and build windmills that produce electricity.
UPDATE: OK, I'm starting to understand this better. I think the program makes most sense when you are replacing nongreen electricity with green electricity. But Native Energy's FAQ says
You can offset the "CO2 footprint" of your driving [or flying] or home heating by causing reductions in CO2 pollution somewhere else.It still would be better not to fly and to purchase green power for your daily needs. But I've already written that "not flying" isn't really an acceptable answer.