Carbon Offsetting Flights

Carbon Offsetting Flights for Sustainable Air Travel

Flying can be a part of your trip sometimes. Unfortunately, not everyone loves to take a flight, as it’s hard for them to overcome their fear of flying. However, while that phobia can make your blood run cold, there is also another thing you should be worried about. It is the impact of flights on our environment, in which carbon dioxin is the primary cause of global warmingAs you know, the airline industry accounts for about 2 percent of global carbon emissions.

But only 2 percent? That does not seem to be a lot, or does it?

You are right; that number is no big deal if it is the only cause of the greenhouse effect. But don’t forget about other industries and the largest source of emission of carbon dioxin from human activities, such as burning fossil fuel for heat, transportation, and electricity. Besides, that percentage does not just stop right there; it is directly proportional to the rapid growth of the industry. Not to mention the fact that greenhouse gas emission in the air does more damage than when it is emitted on the ground.

So what should we do to reduce this impact?

Luckily, there is a way, and it is called a carbon offset. While the term seems to be difficult to understand, how it works is rather simple and easy. Stay with me; I will explain it to you clearly.

What is carbon offsetting

A carbon offset is an act of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emission released by one place to make up for that same amount of discharge in another place. In a simple example, an amount of carbon dioxin created by burning fossil fuels will be equivalent to the amount of carbon reduced by another activity.

A carbon offset is not a new thing. It has been around for quite some time in response to the increase in the greenhouse effect. It allows everyone to reduce carbon footprints completely or neutralize the impact through environmental projects. On a large market scale, government and company often practice this sustainable approach by purchase offsets through emission trading (cap and trade) – a program used to control pollutants causing damage to the earth – for the allowed amount to emit. On a much smaller scale, an individual can indirectly mitigate their carbon footprints when buying an offset to compensate for the greenhouse gas emission from personal use of transportation, especially air travel. That practice is known as carbon offsetting flights.

Sustainable travel air 

Photo by Krzysztof Kowalik

As I mentioned above, carbon offsetting flights is one of the most effective way to reduce the impact of carbon dioxin emission in the aviation sector of the tourism industry. It might be the first time you hear this, but there are such programs to exist. They allow you to calculate and donate a sum of money that is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxin your flight will emit during the trip. And that money will be used to fund environmental projects that aim to minimize this greenhouse gas emission. These projects are various from different in many categories, and they support a wide range of the industry, including biomass, solar, wind energy, etc. Such great examples are those reforestation projects in Ecuador or the Vietnam biogas project.

So next time, before you take a trip, you can have a look at how much CO2 your flight emits and purchase an offset for that journey. This will be a far more meaningful contribution than just merely donating your money away.

Now, the question is, how exactly does it help? 

Airplane engines, in general, emit carbon dioxin while operating, among other things, such as particles and water vapor. This mixture causes air pollution. While this process is inevitable since that is just the way an engine works, we can only focus on carbon offsetting CO2, which is the major issue. However, it does not mean that we can stop that amount of greenhouse gas going to the atmosphere. Like I had already explained above, we will reduce the same amount somewhere else through many projects funded by the money from the purchased offset.

Which carbon offsetting flight programs should I use?

Carbon offsetting is a good practice for a sustainable environment. However, the big question is, how do we know if our money will not be used for other purposes? It is very common that there are many individuals or organizations will try to take advantage of people’s goodwill for their interest. A simple website covered with a picture of the green forest might trick you into believing they are good guys who are trying hard to save the world.

So are there any reliable companies out there to purchase an offset?

Yes! there are

One of the most reliable ones that you can trust and offset directly is Gold Standard, the most recommended Swiss non-profit organization founded by environmental groups and WWF. Alternatively, you can also carbon offset with the airline company that is in line with the verified carbon offsetting scheme by paying an additional fee to the cost of the flight. Here are a few more programs that are trustworthy.

Final thoughts

While many people might think this approach does not help much to protect our environment because whether you choose to offset carbon or not, the greenhouse gas still emits into the earth’s atmosphere and causes harm. Besides, we might be able to reduce the CO2 elsewhere, but we cannot fix the damage that already made. However, if we know what we do can bring benefits in some ways, even just a little, then why not?

Furthermore, it is always better to purchase directly from the program scheme rather than through your airline. Why? Because you can be able to choose which environmental projects your money will go into, and you can get the maximum benefit. However, sometimes it’s not the money we give, but it is the goodwill, and the awareness created that matter more.


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