myclimate, is a Swiss non-profit foundation well known as a leading provider of carbon offsetting measures combating climate change. Since 2002 climate conscious consumers have the possibility to make compensation payments to myclimate for man-made CO2 emissions and in this process are supported by an emissions calculator. Any volunteer contributions made are used to fund myclimate protection projects. These projects comply with the highest quality standards and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
At about the same time as the Qantas group announced their similar, separate green program, only two weeks ago myclimate launched a new initiative together with Star Alliance members Lufthansa and Swiss International Airlines. The airlines now offer their passengers the option to use myclimate’s offset solutions by adding the voluntary option to their website. There are dedicated websites set up for Lufthansa (http://lufthansa.myclimate.org/EN) and Swiss (http://swiss.myclimate.org/EN) enabling passengers to make donations for environmental protection after calculating their share of pollution based on their departure, transfer and destination airports. The branded websites include a slightly modified calculator that actually takes into account the fuel efficiency of the fleet of each airlines. I have made a trial, if I use the standard myclimate.org website’s calculator, for a return flight between Budapest and Frankfurt on economy class (business and first produce more emission according to the calculator…) I end up with 0.376 t of CO2 emission, while if I use the Lufthansa branded website (as Lufthansa has a more fuel efficient fleet than the industry standard), for the same return flight and same distance flown (1668 km) the result of the calculation equals only 0.278 t of CO2, which means a difference of -27%. If I would change planes in Zürich (and fly with Swiss, using the Swiss branded calculator) it would of course be a longer distance of 2183 km, with 0.482 t of CO2 emitted, which means 73% more emission than if I would have flown directly. Actually both branded websites show the same results for the same querries, with the same lower than average amount of emission levels.
Both airlines have chosen dedicated projects which they support from the money their passengers will pay to offset their emissions from their flights. Lufthansa and Swiss support two projects in Karnataka and Bihar in India, where emissions are reduced through the production of electricity from agricultural waste instead of coal and diesel.
René Estermann, managing director of myclimate has said: “The commitment of these two airlines will hopefully soon contribute to a significant increase in the number of air passengers who volunteer to offset their CO2 emissions. It is another small step in the right direction, namely to give CO2 emissions a value.” The above mentioned return flight which I used as an example for the trial (BUD-FRA-BUD) would suggest that I volunteer EUR 3 per flight for offsetting my share of pollution, which would be a total of EUR 6. Just flying between Zürich and New York (and back) for example would generate 1.238 t of CO2 and would require the passenger to pay a compensation of EUR 25.
Just an interesting calculation: if a business man flies to Frankfurt from Budapest twice a month (except for the Christmas period and summer holidays), the generated annual CO2 emission would be 0.278 t * 22 = 6.116 t (! equaling the weight of about 5 average size car from the Volkswagen Golf category!), and this amount of CO2 could be offset by paying a fee of EUR 132. I wonder if there are any companies that are environmentally committed so much that they are willing to pay for the offsetting of all (or at least part of) the CO2 emissions of their employees that is generated while sending them back and forth around the globe countless times every year?