Top Three Carbon Evils

(And How You Can Offset Them)

1. Traveling by airplane.

A flight from San Francisco to New York can produce more than one-fourth as much greenhouse gas per person as a typical year's worth of driving. When you have to fly, purchase carbon offsets.

2. Driving gas-guzzling cars.

Personal travel accounts for nearly a third of the typical American's carbon footprint, according to Robert Henson, author of The Rough Guide to Climate Change and a writer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. What to do until you change cars: Minimize short-errand trips, stick to the speed limit, keep your tires inflated, avoid idling, and avoid jack-rabbit starts and stops. These could cut fuel usage by as much as 30 percent.

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3. Eating meat.

Producing one calorie of meat protein burns more than 10 times the fossil fuels, and emits more than 10 times as much carbon dioxide, as does a calorie of plant protein, according to University of Chicago researchers. Going vegetarian, they say, does more to reduce greenhouse gases than exchanging your gas guzzler for a Prius.

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