The US way of rescuing our climate...
For individuals and business, air travel is a fact of life. The world is our playground and we are not going to stop exploring new places and opportunities. Still, we have become increasingly concerned about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from jet transportation and what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. In 2005, the World Resources Institute (WRI) reported that transportation made up 13.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) worldwide. Of that, air transportation (commercial and general aviation) composed 1.6%. (Click for a world greenhouse gas chart. ) While this may seem like a small percentage, some members of the aviation industry are taking steps to reduce this number by encouraging the use of carbon offset programs.
The premise behind carbon offset programs is this: In exchange for your actions that harm the environment, you do something good to improve the environment in equal measure. Typically, participants pay into a carbon offset program run by a non-profit or for-profit organization. There are many different types of projects to choose from. Some plant trees that will eventually absorb CO2 and release oxygen. Others provide wind power to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. There are also programs that distribute energy-efficient light bulbs to large numbers of people. If you decide you want offset the CO2 from your activities, take time to research your options and make an informed decision.
In 2007, we joined forces with The Conservation Fund in support of its Go Zero® program. We picked this program because we wanted to support the planting of native trees to help combat the effects of deforestation. The Conservation Fund worked with us to establish an hourly donation rate based on the average fuel burn of the jets our customers might charter. Based on manufacturers’ specifications, they translated average fuel burn into estimated CO2 emissions, and calculated the number of trees they would need to plant in order to trap those emissions over time. We invite our customers who want to participate to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to offset the CO2 emissions that result from each trip they fly. The donation is nominal when compared to the cost of their flight, yet the results help benefit both wildlife and people. To date, World Class Charters Inc.’s customers have helped to plant more than 3,200 trees.
The Conservation Fund plants only native trees species in protected areas of the United States – in 2009 they celebrated one million trees planted. “Delta Airlines and Travelocity, along with other corporations in other industries, have also supported the Go Zero program.” (See: www.conservationfund.org/gozero/partners
While there is perennial debate over carbon offsets, we think it’s important to do what we can to be good stewards of the environment. We aren’t alone. In fact, we see others in aviation taking action in their own ways, as well. For example, commercial airlines are replacing older equipment with more fuel efficient aircraft and manufacturers are working hard to produce a more environmentally friendly engine. What are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint?