How to reduce carbon emissions when flying


Image source

This video from BBC news discusses some of the ways you can reduce carbon emissions while flying:

  1. Avoid flying
  2. Fly direct
  3. Fly economy
  4. Pack light
  5. Use local airports

When you live in a country as large as Canada, avoiding flying may not be an option. I will be taking the train from Halifax to Ottawa in June for a birthday trip; the leg from Halifax to Montreal is 18 hours. In Europe, an 18-hour train ride would probably cover a few countries. Mind you, it’s not an ultra fast train. Train travel in Canada is not very good and can be much more expensive than flying. Driving several hours is also not a very comfortable option. Someone I knew drove from the south of Denmark to Italy in about 20 hours; it took me 18 hours of driving to travel from Toronto to Halifax when I moved here (a two-day trip with two overnight stays). The other four alternatives mentioned above are more feasible in Canada.

Another option, which I am interested in exploring, is to compensate your carbon footprint by donating money to environmental causes. There are a number of companies that can help you do this. These companies usually provide tools to help you determine the carbon footprint of your mode of travel. So, for example, a flight from Halifax to Montreal for one person equals a  CO2 amount: 0.392 tonnes. Based on this CO2 amount, the company will ask you to donate a set amount to contribute to an environmental project, e.g., reforestation in Nicaragua. The company MyClimate, for example, calculates a contribution of $11 USD for a Halifax to Montreal flight. it’s important to choose companies that have Gold Standard certification,  as this ensures that key environmental criteria have been met by offset projects that carry its label. 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.  There are two Canadian companies that offer Gold Standard offsets;

I could find only one Canadian airline that has a carbon offsetting program, namely Air Canada (which uses Less). This site lists airline companies that have carbon offsetting programs.

I have been meaning to use these carbon offsetting programs; it’s time I put this into practice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s