Will that Be Coffee, Tea or Carbon Offsets?


Now when you fly Air Canada, you can buy carbon offsets with your ticket. The national airline is working with TreeHugger contributor Zerofootprint to sell offsets that are matched to the distance and the current aircraft mix. An offset for a Toronto-London hop will cost C$ 19.20; Vancouver to Montreal will cost C$ 12.80. Air Canada, one of the few profitable airlines in North America, has been busy finding ways to save fuel (and reduce costs) including weight reduction programs, reduced engine usage (on the ground only, thankfully) and charging passengers through the nose for pillows and sandwiches, lightening all of our wallets as we fly. They have also purchased a fleet of fuel efficient 787's that use 30% less fuel.

Some have complained that we should have a coordinated national transportation strategy including high speed trains in the Toronto-Windsor Corridor to reduce fuel use instead of offsetting it, but in the absence of any federal leadership at least Air Canada is acknowledging the issue and doing something about it. :Zerofootprint Press Release and ::Globe and Mail, ::the StarZerofootprint's offset programs include tree planting and investments in sustainable energy projects. Recently some tree planting programs have been criticized, but zerofootpint responds:

"Trees turn CO2 into oxygen by "breathing," sequestering carbon in wood. Moreover, deforestation and forest fires account for as much as a fifth of the planet's annual CO2 emissions. In fact, land-use change, including deforestation, is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Reforestation is therefore a key to any broad strategy to cut atmospheric CO2 levels. At the same time, climate change is already putting stress on vital forests, which provide a habitat for flora and fauna, and protect against catastrophic soil erosion. So it is clear not only that we need more trees, but that we have to protect those we have."

They calculate their CO2 emissions "based on transparent industry standards and Environment Canada data. Zerofootprint offsets are calculated very carefully, and in conformity with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (www.ghgprotocol.org). In this way we and our clients can be certain that our figures are in keeping with internationally endorsed standards of reporting and accounting that are backed by both the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute, two of the most prestigious non-governmental organizations in the world." and provide third party verification.
More at ::Zerofootprint

Zerofootprint has contributed articles to TreeHugger and this writer has worked with Zerofootprint.