Sustainable flying – how to off set your carbon emissions

Sustainable flying – how to off set your carbon emissions

What’s your take on flying? I love to travel long distance and I fly often. This year we already have 7 trips booked with the kids, and that’s just holidays and weekend trips, business excluded.

I never really considered the effect flying has on climate change. Yes, I’ve heard about it, however somehow I’ve just ignored it. (Did I mention I love to travel?). Sometimes I’ve answered, ”yes” if an airline asked me if I wanted to pay extra to off set my carbon emissions. But that’s about it. Last week I listen to a climate podcast (Swedish) and that got me thinking. But just thinking about it won’t help. According to the podcast the best thing was to stop flying all together. Let’s be real, that won’t happen. So what to do?

A trip between London and New York ”costs 2,1 ton CO2. That’s equivalent to 23% of the average yearly CO2 emission for a EU citizen.

According to the Swedish pod, there are other things you can do – fly economy, only fly new planes and travel light. However, the effects are minimal.

Another way is to offset your carbon emissions by supporting “green projects” that either plant new trees or preserve rainforest. The regulation for these projects is still vague, so if you really want to make a difference you need to do your homework. Firstly the organisations need to be able to deliver the projects they promise (not all do). Secondly these projects must be “additional”, which means that they must plant trees (or save trees) that wouldn’t be planted (or saved) otherwise. In other words an ”ordinary” environmental project won’t do.

Despite the lack of regulations there are some guidelines available, well-known organisations such as Greenpeace & WWF have developed a Gold Standard as a guide for off setting carbon emissions.

This is where I will start looking for projects to compensate for all my trips between the US and Europe, instead of just thinking about doing it.