Re: “Rick Steves wrestles with ‘flight shame’ issue”:

Danny Westneat wrote: “In terms of carbon emissions … there’s probably nothing worse we can do on an individual basis than take an intercontinental flight.” Actually, there is something worse: having a child.

By choosing to reproduce, you’re responsible for some fraction of the carbon-dioxide emissions of your children and grandchildren, and all their descendants. This is your “carbon legacy.” In a 2009 article in Global Environmental Change, Paul A. Murtaugh and Michael G. Schlax of Oregon State University wrote, “Under current conditions in the United States … each child adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female …” This is the equivalent of 2,700 round-trip flights between Seattle and Europe.

Stephen G. Warren, Seattle, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington