Barrilleaux said the airport doesn't have any specific projects in mind. Rather, it wants companies interested in running the program to pitch their ideas.
"Maybe we'd even have a menu of projects that (passengers) can pick from," Barrilleaux said.
The airport said it won't rule out "sequestration" projects that involve storing carbon underground, but the company or organization would have to provide "sufficient scientific and economical justification."
Some critics could take issue with the fact that DIA will get a portion of the money passengers pay for carbon offsets.
The airport, however, said it can't provide such services for free. It'll also use some of the revenue to cover expenses incurred in choosing an operator and tracking the success of the program.
"There is going to be a cost to the airport associated with this," said DIA spokesman Jeff Green, adding that officials don't yet know how much that will be. "We have to cover those expenses."
How much does it cost to purchase carbon offsets for air travel?
It depends on the distance of your flight and whether you have any layovers in other cities. It also depends on the "calculator" the company or organization uses to determine how much it will cost.
Following are some estimates using aspenzgreen.com, which was developed by the city of Aspen and has been approved by DIA for use in its program, for round-trip travel between Denver and . . .
* Las Vegas: $5.64
British Airways and Scandinavian Airlines System have established programs that give travelers the opportunity to pay carbon-offset fees to help fund clean technology projects.
Aviation expert Mike Boyd said he thought high-profile announcements by airlines are akin to building a firebreak to show the industry is taking some action.
On a New York-to-Denver flight, a commercial jet would generate 840 to 1,660 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger. That's about what a typical driver generates with an SUV in a month.
Private firms to supply upfront investments