Every one of us faces choices every day that carry a climate cost. Do we use energy wisely? Do we eat more meat-free meals and buy organic? Do we take public transportation or fly less? Do we consume less, waste less and enjoy more? The list can go on… But who is truly walking the climate walk? Who is fighting climate change as our lives depend on it – because they do.
The reality of climate change is being established in people’s minds and there is more to do to tackle the problem. With the growing focus on this change, flying has now become the subject under the spotlight. There was never so much attention on the carbon emissions that are created by flying before.
Air travel is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. It also stands out as the most climate-intensive form of transportation. In the recent years, we witnessed the window rapidly closing to limit global warming to a bearable level as scientists warn that our planet Earth has as little as 12 years to reduce half of the emissions to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. It’s become more important than ever to reduce the carbon emissions caused by commercial flights and offset the rest. The good thing is carbon offset schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects to reach net-zero footprint.
Airlines Committing Carbon Neutrality
Commercial air travel is a greenhouse-gas-heavy industry, but there are several steps that airlines are taking to decrease greenhouse gas emissions per passenger flown. Environmental responsibility is a top priority for airlines whereas achieving a carbon-neutral growth is also high on their agenda.
Easyjet was the first major airline to commit offsetting carbon emissions from the fuel used for every flight and become carbon-neutral. They do this by investing in projects such as the prevention of deforestation, cleaner and renewable energies including solar and wind.
United Airlines also takes a green stand to combat climate change. With its carbon offset program, they purchase carbon offsets on behalf of their customers to all their corporate air travel with United Airlines and become 100% carbon neutral.
Lufthansa is also to carbon offset all European flights that fall under corporate fares from 2020 – and at no extra cost to corporations whereas the airline passengers can track and offset their carbon footprint by funding environmentally conscious projects such as reforestation.
Yes, Carbon Offsets Really Work
According to United Nations Environment Programme, carbon offsets are not our get-out-of-jail-free card there are no viable alternatives in the short term. Offsets should be seen as part of wider efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions alongside technological and operational improvements in fuel efficiency in the aviation industry. Planes inevitably produce carbon emissions. Without offsetting there is no way to reach 100% carbon neutrality.
Buying an offset, in essence, means buying a credit that has been verified as having reduced emissions somewhere else. Carbon offsets do not prevent emissions occurring in the first place but once airlines buy this offset, they can use it compensate for their greenhouse gas through schemes that are designed to make reductions.
Eco-conscious Travelers on the Rise
On one hand, flying leads to lots of carbon emissions. On the other hand, people are getting more eco-conscious. This new high level of environmental consciousness reflects itself on flights. There is an increased desire by many eco-friendly passengers to offset the environmental impact of their flights by funding projects like reforestation or renewable energy. They are aware of the fact that it’s also impossible for them to have a 100% carbon-neutral lifestyle. They can reduce their carbon footprintbut that doesn’t balance out the emissions caused by their flight. That’s why they choose airlines that are taking steps to improve their environmental impact while they offset their carbon emissions.
3 Steps to Offset Your Flight Carbon Footprint
For people who’ve never done carbon offsetting before, it can sound as if it’s a complicated task. But actually, it’s very easy. Some airlines already operating offset programmes can let you offset your carbon footprint in various ways. You can, for example, pay the offset at the time of the ticket purchase for or the offset amount can be automatically included to the ticket price. However, if you’d like to do this on your own, in three simple steps you can get it one.
1.Find the Right Company
Finding the trust-worthy offset provider is the first step. The company you choose should have verified projects with credible certifications. Recognition matters when it comes to carbon offsetting projects. So check out the projects to see if they are in line with the Gold Standard (GS) or Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). They are two of the industry standards that validate a carbon offsetting project for its adequacy and effectiveness.
2.Use the Simple Calculator to Find Out Your Flight’s Carbon Footprint
Once you find a company, you can start your flight’s carbon footprint calculations by simply entering the flight information. Let’s take Los Angeles International Airport to Amsterdam return flight as an example. All you need to do is enter departure and destination airport info into the Co2nsensus calculator along with the class you’re flying with. The advanced calculator instantly makes the calculation based on the methodology adapted from the International Civil Aviation Organization and it estimates the flight emissions attached to your flights right then and there in tonnes of Co2 per kilometre.
3.Pick Your Carbon Offset Scheme
At the last step, you purchase a carbon offset project and do your share to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. At Co2nsensus, you can choose one of the international carbon offsetting projects that vary from forestry to renewable energy, landfill to hydropower projects.