Best carbon offsetting schemes

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This topic contains 26 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  EruditeSheep 6 Dec 2019
at 20:33
.

Viewing 12 posts - 16 through 27 (of 27 total)

  • Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Thanks IanfromHKG – I’ll let someone else take up that one!

    I was talking with a reader at our latest Reader Event last night, and he mentioned Easyjet offsetting all its flights from next year.

    The problem with the initiative is that it prices the cost of doing so at a very low level that it causes more confusion / cynicism.

    EasyJet/CO2: that sinking feeling

    As the FT piece points out,
    “Stripped of technical guff, offset schemes work like this. You give some money to an environmental charity. You then feel less guilty about flying. The amount of carbon dioxide offset by the scheme will be debatable. The cheaper the scheme, the greater the doubt. For example, easyJet says it paying enough, worth about 5 per cent of PBT annually, to offset its carbon for three years. But that would work out at just 26 euro cents per passenger last year. This voluntary offset is worth £2.87 per tonne of carbon dioxide. The EU’s Emission Trading System prices CO2 at about €24 (£21) per tonne for 2020. EasyJet paid £80m last year under the ETS. That covered less than half its emissions. Full coverage would have cost £180m, according to Bernstein.”


    canucklad
    Participant

    A colleague recently informed me with great authority that climate change is the greatest challenge facing the planet. He was wrong. It isn’t. Overpopulation (which, of course, is a major contributor to the contributors to climate change (yes I did write that correctly)) is the greatest challenge facing the planet.

    And Ian, you’re also right and wrong ……

    For me, it’s all about cause and effect . If the world’s cleverest and most influential people got themselves around a table, then applied problem solving techniques used in private industry and importantly committed to them , then we’d be in a better place.

    But that’s not going to happen . Greed, Self-Entitlement , Envy and Egos are the prime drivers of the global elite

    Does China need to use more concrete in 3 years than the US did in the whole of the 20th century , especially when they have recognized that climate change is a threat ?
    Does the Trumpster need to behave like a spoilt school boy , whenever he’s faced with irreputable evidence of the consequences ?
    Does Jair Bolsonaro have the right to green light the destruction of what arguably could be described as all of ours greatest natural resource, potentially holding secrets to the betterment of human kind?

    More than ever it’s got to be global approach that holistically addresses with balance the causes of climate change.

    From Poverty and lack of education, to increasing energy consumption exasperated by unsustainable population growth to our addiction to cheap throw products , then IMO our immediate future looks bleak.
    Add in horrific wars created by all of the above , and then made worse with tribalism and rabid non- secularism you then have to say that Easyjets attempt at green branding , Greta’s fascination with solar yachts and all of us paying a few quid to ease our (sorry make a difference) conscious just looks plane silly (nun intended) !!

    Sadly, a billion small changes made by individuals won’t change a damn thing until the big global issues are resolved : (


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Dear cancucklad, I think you have actually just supported my point. It is indeed all about cause and effect, and that is precisely what I tried to highlight in my post. As I said, overpopulation is the one of the greatest contributors (and probably the greatest contributor) to climate change. That is ALL about cause and effect.


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    A good link from Responsible Travel:

    https://www.responsibletravel.com/copy/carbon-offsets

    Shows why “Offsetting” is such a minefield and as an approach misses the point of what we actually need to do


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Looks like I wasted my money!

    I wish it had made some recommendations as to what we can do if we have to travel, though.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    The Push for Change website (Finnair) also offers the option of either offsetting by planting trees, or sustainable aviation fuel.

    Confusingly, the options are much less expensive than the Lufthansa site.

    The cost of buying biofuel for a flight to the U.S, for instance, is Euro 65 (one way, I think), while the Lufthansa one was Euro 850 return.

    BUY BIOFUEL
    Biofuel can reduce emissions by 60–80 % when compared to the same amount of fossil fuel. Aviation fuel has a maximum of 50% biocomponent, and typically contains a few percent of biofuel. The biofuel we use has been produced from used cooking oil. Buy biofuel for €10, €20 or €65.

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    canucklad
    Participant

    BUY BIOFUEL
    Biofuel can reduce emissions by 60–80 % when compared to the same amount of fossil fuel. Aviation fuel has a maximum of 50% biocomponent, and typically contains a few percent of biofuel. The biofuel we use has been produced from used cooking oil. Buy biofuel for €10, €20 or €65.

    Now Tom, the question I’d ask is …..
    Does Finnair include a fuel surcharge as part of their ticket price, because it sounds like your being asked to buy their fuel for them.
    Akin to a Bangkok Tuk Tuk driver stopping at a gas station to get you to pay for his fuel and then charging you for his fare when you get to your destination!


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    As far as I can find out, they don’t, generally, but do on Japanese routes!

    https://www.finnair.com/jp/gb/japan/fuelsurcharge

    I have no idea why, but perhaps someone here will.

    To the more general point, I think the idea of the biofuel option is you are paying for the equivalent of Finnair paying extra for the fuel for the flight you are on (or the equivalent – divided by the amount of passenegrs on the flight, and allowing for what class you are flying in).

    “Support for biofuel will go directly to flights flown using biofuel. The biofuel for Finnair flights is sourced from SkyNRG in California and is produced from used cooking oil. Biofuel is currently three to five times more expensive than conventional jet fuel. Biofuel is not widely available and its distribution network is still limited, although this situation will only improve as the use of biofuel becomes more widespread.

    Aviation fuel has a maximum of 50% biocomponent and typically contains a few percentage of biofuel. The price for biofuel quoted here for flights within Finland, European and intercontinental round trips, is based on a scenario where the aviation fuel used contains a 15% biofuel component and all passengers on the flight have chosen to support the use of biofuel.”

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    canucklad
    Participant

    he biofuel for Finnair flights is sourced from SkyNRG in California and is produced from used cooking oil. Biofuel is currently three to five times more expensive than conventional jet fuel. Biofuel is not widely available and its distribution network is still limited,

    Thanks for the explanation Tom

    Seems to me that we’re missing a trick here in Scotland. The land that invented deep frying chocolate bars, along with pizza’s , along with just about anything else you can stick in your gob should have enough used oil to supply the aviation industry , cheaply for at least a year

    Glasgow alone probably produces enough oil to keep BA going for a year!


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    There are also huge sustainability issues around bio-fuels and the amount of land being destroyed for the creation of such fuels (or being changed from food production) which has knock on effects. So the term “bio-fuel” doesn’t mean in anyway it is “good” or less harmful to the environment – as in some cases it is not.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    That would be a fascinating adaptation of Scotland’s current production of oil (of the hydrocarbon sort) to cooking oil (of the used vegetable oil variety).

    I think as well as trying to reduce our dependency on certain types of fuel, and perhaps reducing our consumption overall, recycling and repurposing is another possible solution.

    And perhaps changing investment strategies will also play a part…

    Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns


    EruditeSheep
    Participant

    Like many others participating in this discussion, I am unconvinced of the benefits of carbon offsetting, let alone those of other carbon trading schemes. Such processes may be attempting to exploit economic arguments as a “quick fix” to addressing the problems posed by global warming, but they don’t really open the door to developing effective solutions.

    Within the context of the global carbon cycle, the equilibrium between the generation and sinking of CO2 (especially to/from the oceans and the land) may be reasonably well understood from a scientific point of view but it is accepted that perturbation of that overall equilibrium will have an immense effect on the future evolution of our planet’s climate. Factors such as greenhouse gas emission play a role but so do variations in the solar flux incident on the earth and more fundamental processes in the heliosphere.

    In comparison with other human sources of greenhouse gases, aviation plays a relatively small part. Indeed a recent article in the Guardian newspaper (25 October 2019) showed that over the period 2010 to 2018 the second largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emission was the growing demand for sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Aviation was the fifth in ranking, well down on the largest contributor (power generation). It was claimed that if SUV drivers were a nation, they would rank seventh in the world for carbon emissions. Yet I see no move to encourage SUV drivers to contribute to carbon offset strategies.

    Some would argue that the chemical bond is the most effective means of storing energy, which is why fossil fuel burning has been so favoured in the past for vehicular transport. But for portable power, the ubiquitous lithium ion battery may not always be adequate and in the search for sustainable fuel sources, companies such as Velocys are pursuing the generation of aviation fuel directly from commercial waste, in this case with British Airways and Shell as strategic partners.

    But other strategies are also important, including the prevention of de-forestation, the curbing of population growth, solar power, wind power, tidal power, fuel cell technology and hydrogen storage. Carbon trading schemes with their focus on “cap-and-trade” processes may well be adequate in coping with the status quo, but don’t appear to attract the required level of investment where it is necessarily needed.

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