Christmas Quiz: The Offsetting Problem

A Cambridge entrepreneur (Dr Arith Metic) has a successful AI business (“Impossible Blue”) established on the Cambridge Science Park). He receives regular enquiries and orders from the US, as a reult of which he makes three economy class Stansted to San Francisco flights a year. He expects to be making the same number of flights for the next 20 years.

Recently Dr Metic has become concerned about climate change. Aware that his flying represents the largest part of his carbon footprint he decides he ought to look into carbon offsetting. He vaguely remembers reading that the UNFCCC had information about this and that the cost was quite reasonable.

Just as he’s about to crank up his search engine he has an idea. “Cambridge is growing very rapidly and could do with some more trees – or, hey, why not a patch of new forest? Surely it won’t take more than a few trees to offset the emissions caused by my flights?”

What area of new woodland would Dr Metic need to plant and maintain and over what period in order to ‘cancel out’ his emissions from flying?
What would be the approximate additional cost per flight he should budget over and above the cost of his airline ticket in order to offset his emissions in this way?

1. You may find this link to the Forestry Commission useful https://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-8jue9t
2. Assume land is available to rent near Cambridge for £140/acre/annum
3. Prizes. Err, sorry, no prizes.
4. Deadline for entries 31 Dec 2018,23:59 GMT, to tony [at] carbonneutralcambridge.org
5. Judge’s decision is final, etc etc. Good luck!