My CO2 footprint
My footprint is basically the amount of carbon that is released as a result of my circumstances, lifestyle choices and the decisions I make. What I eat and buy. How I live and invest my money. What I do at work and how I travel.
My project involves producing CO2 by flying a helicopter. So, I wanted to understand my choice and address it. I also wanted to research what the Aviation Industry is doing to limit temperature rises to less than 2°C.
My simplified explanation of a complicated subject
The quantity of global greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is an absolute planetary boundary we need to respect in order to limit the temperature rise. And we need to reduce our global emissions quite rapidly going forward. We also need to reach a neutral position where any remaining emissions we cannot eliminate are balanced with Negative Emission Technologies. NETs are in their infancy and will only become viable at scale in 30+ years, possibly longer.
Emissions are created by all kinds of activities, such as making electricity and heating, industry and transportation. And there is a huge focus on these sectors to phase out fossil fuels and switch to lower-carbon forms of mobility (like electric vehicles) and of heat and light (such as renewable energy like wind or solar). Transportation makes up about 14% of global emissions.
Natural Climate Solutions are available now. These involve terrestrial conservation, restoration, and improved practices pathways, which include safeguards for food and fibre and habitat for biological diversity.
Land-use change, including the loss or conversion of standing forests to other uses, currently contributes approximately 10% of all global emissions. Forests, peat lands and grasslands are the most important natural carbon sinks on land.
Putting a price on carbon is the most effective way governments can address the current climate crisis, and emissions trading systems are a practical way of achieving this. We can make choices and ‘pay to offset’ our emissions. Reducing emissions from land-use is the most cost-effective climate solution out there, and an excellent candidate for offset funds.
Carbon Offsetting & Reduction Scheme for International Aviation
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is taking responsibility for the growth of aviation and addressing climate change. Domestic Aviation makes up about 0.7% and International Aviation 1.3% of global emissions.
The aviation industry has committed to capping emissions at 2020 levels, despite expected growth in flights. This will be met through using fuel alternatives, efficiency measures, and technology developments to reduce the emissions growth. The remaining emissions gap will be offset by investments in Natural Climate Solutions.
To meet these targets, on October 6, 2016, ICAO approved the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which is the first global offsetting scheme to cover an entire industry. All passengers will be contributing, and this represents a brilliant global awareness campaign and good news for Natural Climate Solutions.
Offsetting my use of the helicopter
For this project I made the best, informed choice and recognised the impact on the planet by offsetting it effectively. I assessed that the helicopter I used represented the smallest CO2 footprint for achieving the objectives compared with commercial flights and 4WD road transport.
I produced 131t of CO2 and offset that with a purchase of 138t from ClimateCare and ecosphere+.
ClimateCare develops cost-efficient, high impact, programmes to tackle poverty, improve health, and protect the environment. Since 1997, with its partners, ClimateCare has cut over 33 million tonnes of CO2 and improved quality of life for more than 34 million people around the world.
Ecosphere+ specialise in supporting forest conservation in critical, tropical ecosystems around the world through climate finance.
My purchase goes towards addressing the drivers of deforestation in The Amazon through working with local communities to develop more sustainable livelihoods and protecting the Tambopata-Bahuaja Biodiversity Reserve in Peru. I have the pleasure of visiting this project and seeing the good work for myself during my journey.