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Carbon offsets

Posted by somtam2000 on 10/7/2019 at 00:42 admin

A question for Travelfish readers.

Do you buy carbon offsets for your flights? I'm looking into it at the moment and am wondering about calculating them? I already know the project I want to support, but I'm trying to get a handle on how best to calculate the offset—the calculators I’ve found online are pretty vague on the details.

For instance, are the amount tonnes affected by the type of aircraft or how full the flight is?

Your thoughts much appreciated!


#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,065

Posted by rjhintz on 16/7/2019 at 22:15

Considered, but haven't done. I guess my concern is how much of what I'd spend on this actually offsets my travel. I started looking into this, but the details got complex fast.

For calibration, I probably fly maybe 100K miles/year, so it's a factor.

#2 rjhintz has been a member since 16/4/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 8

Posted by somtam2000 on 16/7/2019 at 23:53 admin

Right. Likewise I've looked at a few times and got bogged down in the complexity of it.

The amount of money seemed low, say a Bali KL flight would come in at about $5ish, but just trying to get a handle on it.

Have a friend here (in Bali) who runs a biogas organisation working with local rice farmers, and this seems to be the kinda scheme the offset programmes often support. So am thinking of suggesting he add a thing on his donation page where people can donate to his organisation in an offset equivalent.

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,065

Posted by rjhintz on 17/7/2019 at 00:26

First I don't understand the math of the derivation of the amount that's supposed to offset my personal travel.

I can see donating to something like the biogas organization, but realistically I don't know if it's offsetting 1%, 100%, or 1,000% of my travel.

I thought about looking for academic papers on this to see if there's some intellectual underpinning or if it's just wild guesswork. Maybe I'll look again. If you find anything credible, I'd be interested.

Nothing wrong with just donating to an organization that intuitively offsets, of course. I might just end up doing that. I have to admit I've felt guilty about this for a while.

#4 rjhintz has been a member since 16/4/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 8

Posted by amnicoll on 17/7/2019 at 09:34

simple answer is no I do not and I think it is better to look to the airline on this one in the short term or perhaps contribute to a charity involved in the carbon offsetting. You might set an arbitrary sum say based on the miles flown.

The calculations are difficult here is a short summary in non tech speak from a site I cam across recently

Various calculators have been developed to work out how much carbon dioxide you produce on a flight. The most basic just look at how many miles you’ve flown. The better ones also take into consideration your class of travel, the type of aircraft and how fuel efficient it is, the number of passengers it holds and the occupancy rate. But if you wanted to be super-accurate you’d need to take into account the time of day and weather too. Every carbon offset scheme calculates things differently – and some are a lot more comprehensive than others.

Among the airlines which are doing good things with carbon offsets are Qantas whose Future Planet scheme claims to be the largest airline offsetter. Their projects uses a mix of reforestation, forest protection and renewable energy projects – plus they offset their own staff travel. Other verified schemes include Air Canada’s work with Less Emissions, Brussels Airlines with CO2 Logic, KLM’s CO2ZERO and Austrian Airlines with Carbon Austria.
Down the other end of the spectrum is Ryanair (why am I not surprised?), who recently started a carbon offset scheme which costs £1 for a flight from London to Oslo. There’s no accreditation and they say the funds will be “distributed annually to environmental charities and NGOs as selected by our people”. Can’t say that hugely fills me with confidence!

Just to add my pet issues - I would like to see all travelers reusing their water bottles wherever possible and turning off the lights/fans/ac etc when they are not using their room far easier than trying to calculate the carbon footprint and just as worthwhile

#5 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by gecktrek on 10/8/2019 at 03:12

hey, i plant trees, about 5-10 per overseas flight...

#6 gecktrek has been a member since 24/3/2013. Location: Australia. Posts: 171

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