Offsetting Carbon in Air Travel

This surprise blog results from some time I spent this weekend looking into ways for us to try to ecologically offset our air travel. There is tons of info out there and I’m a novice, but I thought I’d share the quick ‘n’ easy options that I managed to find…. The first option is obviously to travel less and use less fuel, but if you do travel (I’m a dreadful offender), I gather the basic lazy/lay person compensation concept is:

– Find a way to calculate how much each flight is contributing to global warming & carbon emission problems
 – Choose your best/easiest/most effective way to compensate
 – Sign up and pay up:


The second option is carbon offset calculators for air travel.
(Note: these calculators can be used without making a purchase. I don’t understand enough yet about which ones are investing in the best projects for TRULY helping, but at first glance they mostly seem to reach the same mathematical conclusion for the amount of emission created by a given journey, then they offer different “solutions” for different prices)

My Climate:
(Ben and Jerry’s. Based in USA. Took my computer ages to get thru this site, but I have an old computer. You can open an account and it should be easy to add each flight. Projects claim to meet international ‘gold standard’ (see below), although there’s only one project right now. Site allows you to adapt for stopovers, class of travel and private jet flights!)

Climate Friendly:
(Very fast to get to and easy to use & understand. Based in Australia so invests in Australian projects)


(you buy a pass and put money into environmental energy projects – calculates for driving, flying, home electricity use, etc. You tell it how much you’ve done and it offers you a package, so you can pay in advance or retroactively for anything from 6000 air miles to a million air miles. Based in USA.)

(Gives lots of comparative info. Easy to use. Payment in Euros. Allows for stopovers. Investment projects meet ‘gold standard’ and are in the developing world. Atmosfair is based in Germany, with the site in English & German.)

(Calculator can combine your home/vehicle/flight emissions footprint – offers articles with info, and a choice of compensation programs: two focus on helping publishers and authors reducing the effects of printing on paper, and another one focuses on compensating for electricity use)Greenmyflight
(This seems interesting, although all of its solutions are in Canada and I presume the prices are in Canadian dollars)

This whole blog began as a way to get some info for my travel agent. If all of our travel agents want to, then they can offer their customers the possibility of offsetting their carbon emissions caused by air travel. Apparently there are quite a lot of agents who now offer this – the clients can have an account and each time they fly they can choose to offset it by contributing to researching alternative energy. It helps guilty consciences, but it can also help the planet quite easily. Maybe you can encourage your agent to sign up…. And even get your whole business/organization/family to do this too.

Interesting Thing about Gold Standards (which I don’t know much about yet):

The Gold Standard for carbon offsets (I don’t know if the above calculators are donating to ‘gold standard’ projects)
Because of the above concerns, an international standard for carbon offsets was developed to differentiate high quality offsets. Known as The Gold Gtandard, it ensures that key environmental criteria have been met by offset projects that carry its label. Significantly, only offsets from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects qualify for the Gold Standard, as these projects encourage a shift away from fossil fuel use and carry inherently low environmental risks. Tree planting projects are explicitly excluded by The Gold Standard. Gold Standard projects must meet very high additionality criteria to ensure that they contribute to the adoption of additional sustainable energy projects, rather than simply funding existing projects. The Gold Standard also includes social indicators to ensure the offset project contributes to sustainable development goals in the country where the project is based.  

All Gold Standard projects have been independently verified by a third party to ensure integrity.
For a list of Gold Standard vendors , please see the Resources section under "Gold Standard Vendors".

Finally, for those of you who know lots about this stuff, please forgive my ignorance and share your knowledge. And for those of you who, like me, have been meaning to sign up for ages – let’s do it! (And maybe we can encourage some film productions or film festivals or other entities to also invest in programs like these, so they can be carbon footprint free by compensating for the travel that they cause).