CO2 compensation and flying: part 1

Who of us hasn’t flown to a nice destination in Europe for as little as several tens of euros? Moreover, who hasn’t checked all available airlines to find the cheapest possible option? The modern reality is that everyone is flying more and more often, and flights are becoming cheaper and cheaper.

The experts expect the total amount of passengers to double in the next 20 years, reaching more than seven billion passengers in 2035. We all know that qua environment pollution flying is the most dangerous form of transport. But how strongly does it influence the current international climate goals exactly? This question is a very difficult one to answer. Moreover, the answer varies greatly from country to country. In the developed countries people generally fly much more often, but they are also more conscious, therefore, the majority of CO2-compensation is also coming from there.

KLM (or the Royal Dutch Airlines) has estimated that in 2018 only one out of 800 passengers has chosen to pay a little extra money to compensate for their CO2 emission. This is, of course, not enough.

Does CO2 compensation make sense?

The logical question then is: does CO2 compensation actually make sense? Setting up an environmental project requires a substantial amount of money. Do these project function properly when so little people want to contribute to their development? 

Most of the experts agree that is is important and even necessary to compensate your own CO2 emissions. However, many of them are also of the opinion that it cannot be the only, or even the main, solution to the problem.

How to compensate your CO2 emissions?

You can do so by supporting one of the many projects focusing on planting trees, protecting the existing forests or building wind turbines in the developing countries. Such projects aim either at “collecting” CO2 from the atmosphere, or on preventing its further emissions. Depending on your flight, you have to pay a couple of euros, or, if you are flying really far way, a couple of tens of euros. A small amount to support a great goal!

Various web-sites provide the emission-calculators, helping you to estimate your CO2-emission for a particular flight. You can find one of such calculator here. Our previous post is dedicated to a website focusing on CO2 compensation in the Netherlands. Check it out if you are interested!

Advantages of CO2 compensation.

CO2 compensation has several advantages. First of all, you are of course reducing your ecological footprint and contributing to a greener environment. That’s already awesome and totally worth it. However, donating to one of the various projects located in the developing countries has some more less evident benefits. 

Many projects are focused on planting trees or developing environmentally friendly energy sources in, for example, South America. At the same time such projects provide great support to the indigenous populations there. If a farmer in Bolivia can earn his bread by planting trees instead of cutting them down for new rice plantations, – it’ results not only in minimization of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, but also, for example, in less ground erosion. Therefore, the farmer himself is indirectly profiting from such an activity. 

Check our next post to find out why it is not so easy to compensate CO2 emissions closer to your home-country and how these compensation projects really work.

To find out which airlines provide CO2 compensation programs, check this blog providing interesting information about air travel and carbon offset.

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