How to offset your carbon footprint when travelling

by Rebecca Macfie / 07 January, 2018

Photo/Getty Images

Want to travel but don’t want to fry the planet? Buying carbon offsets is a way of having your cake and eating it.

Offsetting schemes charge an amount based on the volume of emissions generated by a flight. That money helps to finance schemes that absorb emissions from the atmosphere (such as native-forest regeneration), or support a shift away from fossil fuels (such as wind-farm development).

Not all offsetting schemes are created equal, however. Some take into account the full range of climate effects caused by aircraft (including greenhouse gases, contrails and water vapour); others cover only CO2 emissions.

In the New Zealand market, Enviro-Mark Solutions’ travel calculator is based on a “radiative forcing index”, which includes the full suite of impacts and is recommended by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Another scheme, Ekos, allows offset buyers to choose from two options – one includes CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions, and the other includes those three gases but also factors in the radiative forcing index (which roughly doubles the price). Air New Zealand’s scheme takes into account only CO2 emissions. Jetstar’s scheme takes into account CO2 and five other greenhouse gases.

Enviro-Mark’s offsets fund projects including forests overseen by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Permanent Forest Sink Initiative, as well as a wind farm in China, a solar-energy plant in Mexico, and a low-emission cooking stove project in China.

Ekos is a registered charity founded by forestry conservation expert Sean Weaver. Offsets from the scheme fund indigenous rainforest projects in Southland, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

Air New Zealand offsets fund a variety of native forestry projects run by the Native Forest Restoration Trust.

Jetstar offsets fund a portfolio of projects including rainforest protection in Papua New Guinea, wilderness protection in Tasmania, a biomass project in Thailand and wildfire prevention in Western Australia.

This article was first published in the November 4, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

Jennifer Curtin: The feminist political scientist mixing rugby with politics
96422 2018-09-18 00:00:00Z Profiles

Jennifer Curtin: The feminist political scientist …

by Clare de Lore

Australian-New Zealander Jennifer Curtin says the lopsided nature of the Bledisloe Cup pales in comparison to the slump in transtasman relations.

Read more
Don McGlashan is out of the attic and taking flight
96439 2018-09-18 00:00:00Z Music

Don McGlashan is out of the attic and taking fligh…

by James Belfield

Don McGlashan is taking some old unloved songs on his New Zealand tour.

Read more
Are We There Yet? is the exhibition marking 125 years of women's suffrage in NZ
95961 2018-09-18 00:00:00Z Arts

Are We There Yet? is the exhibition marking 125 ye…

by Linda Herrick

The exhibition at Auckland Museum shows there is still ground to make up.

Read more
Mr Wiki: Mike Dickison is NZ's first Wikipedian at large
96030 2018-09-18 00:00:00Z Tech

Mr Wiki: Mike Dickison is NZ's first Wikipedian at…

by Elisabeth Easther

The entomologist will work on outreach programmes and recruiting editors to improve the sparse coverage of New Zealand topics.

Read more
Contemporary new cafe, Browne St, opens in Avondale
96454 2018-09-17 15:08:36Z Auckland Eats

Contemporary new cafe, Browne St, opens in Avondal…

by Alex Blackwood

New cafe, Browne St, combines Avondale's heritage with a modern fit-out.

Read more
The women's suffrage movement wasn't only a fight for the right to vote
96444 2018-09-17 12:23:48Z History

The women's suffrage movement wasn't only a fight …

by Sally Blundell

Suffrage was a stepping stone to other major social reforms for women.

Read more
Euthanasia: Australia is on the move
96401 2018-09-17 09:51:18Z Social issues

Euthanasia: Australia is on the move

by Graham Adams

Anyone keen to see assisted dying laws passed in New Zealand will be heartened by the increasing momentum of campaigns across the Tasman.

Read more
Broadcaster Heather du Plessis-Allan stands by her Pacific 'leeches' claim
96392 2018-09-17 06:30:40Z Social issues

Broadcaster Heather du Plessis-Allan stands by her…

by Colin Peacock

How some New Zealanders regard their Pacific neighbours was laid bare last week with comments from a radio host that she 'doubled down' on.

Read more