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Compensate for flights

Flight compensation: does that even help?

A guest contribution by Carolin Frühauf

The aviation industry's CO2 emissions contribute around five percent Climate warming at. 90 percent of the world's population have never flown. The main culprits are the industrialized nations. Experts predict a further increase in the Air traffic in the coming years. CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas that airplanes release into the environment.

CO2 is one of the greenhouse gases that stimulate global warming and promote climate change. The main polluters that emit CO2 are airplanes, cars and coal-fired power plants. The Federal Environment Agency has created an overview of the various means of transport and their greenhouse gas emissions that you here can see.

Of course, the conscious consumer will feel queasy with these facts.

Do I have to do without any air travel now?

Honestly, it would be better.

But also quite honestly: Restricting yourself to such an extent in your private life and doing without any means of transport is a great curtailment of freedom for some. The fact that we should all question our travel behavior and general consumer behavior is obvious.

Protecting the climate with flight compensation, is that possible?

No. With offsetting, we hardly reduce global CO2 emissions. We mainly compensate for it. The fact is, what has now been corrected 1,5 degrees goal remain accessible to every citizen of the world a tonne permitted CO2 emissions per year.

For comparison: in Germany we are currently consuming around 9,6 tons of CO2 per capita per year. A flight from Düsseldorf to Mallorca alone causes 0,75 tons of CO2.

What does it mean now to compensate my flight?

The CO2 emissions caused by flying are saved elsewhere. So in a project of one of the compensation agencies, of which there are numerous serious and unfortunately dubious ones. The projects mostly take place in emerging and developing countries as energy or sink projects.

An example of an energy project is this Wind turbine project in Turkey by Myclimate. There the organization supports the construction of a wind farm and thus contributes to the fact that more than 35.000 tons of CO2 are saved annually, because coal and gas power plants have become superfluous. The question of whether the project would have taken place without the support of Myclimate, however, remains open.

The Sink projects CO2 is withdrawn from the atmosphere and bound in biomass. These are reforestation projects, projects in which drained bogs are re-irrigated and revitalized, or greening projects. One point of criticism here is the time lag. A tree doesn't grow overnight and who knows how long the project will last.

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At the beginning of 2018, the Stiftung Warentest Germany's most famous compensation agencies took a closer look and the following top list was created (grade 1 is very good and grade 6 is poor):

  • Atmosfair (school grade 0,6)
  • Climate collective (school grade 1,1)
  • Primaklima (school grade 1,5)
  • Myclimate (school grade 2,2)
  • Klimamanufaktur (school grade 4,0)
  • Arctic (school grade 4,2)

How do I know if the projects are really making a difference?

It is obvious that it is difficult to calculate the exact CO2 emissions of a flight and that of the compensation. The gold standard, which is certified as a non-profit organization for climate protection projects and recognized worldwide. Atmosfair offers a helpful compilation of information about which projects make sense.

Many mobility and tour operators offer the compensation directly when booking. Also at Good travel can be compensated with Atmosfair. Otherwise, it is best to ask which company you are working with and see if you know what kind of project the money is going into.

"There is no Planet B"

By the way, not only flights are compensated. Companies in particular compensate for all activities or products that are then often declared as climate-neutral, although not all processes have actually been compensated.

You can now buy computers, bouquets of flowers or fruit in a 'climate-neutral' way. It should come as no surprise that the term indulgence trade comes up. Still, the focus should be on the goodwill of consumers. It is you who are ready to do something good and initiate a change.

How you can directly influence your own CO2 emissions in everyday life:

  • Stop eating beef
  • Repair instead of buying new
  • Bike or walk instead of driving
  • Within Europe by train or bus
  • Switch to a green electricity provider
  • Shop regionally and seasonally
  • Minimize consumption of animal products
  • Efficient heating
  • Talk to people about climate change and encourage each other to be able to make a difference!

Other Tips for sustainable travel can be found here on our blog.

He has 77 more tips NABU to you.

Here are the climate protection tips from UTOPIA.

As well as everyday tips from WWF


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