Have you ever thought about your carbon foot print when you are traveling? When on vacation, most likely this isn’t the very first thing we think about. We decided to educate ourselves on this matter and what we found out was sadly surprising for us. Airplanes alone account for more than 8% of carbon dioxide emissions on the atmosphere.
Even though there are no options to solve this problem in air transportation, we want to be more conscious travelers and we believe the first step is to understand the impact that our travels have on the planet.
That’s why we had a conversation with Blake Lawrence, the Marketing Manager of Cool Effect, a renowned nonprofit organization dedicated to combating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Cool Effect has already eliminated over a million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and they’re not stopping there. We discussed with Blake the impact of travel on our environment and the steps we can take to become more environmentally conscious travelers. Brace yourself, because the truth about travel’s effect on the environment is a real wake-up call.
So what can we do to help?
Blake – There are a number of ways to reduce your impact and fly more sustainably. It’s not about giving up traveling, it’s simply about traveling better. It’s about making smart, informed decisions about your upcoming travel, and doing as much as possible to make sure that you get to where you’re going in a way that’s as friendly to the planet as possible. Here’s how you do it:
- Fly non-stop
- Fly coach
- Fly less
- Choose airlines that use biofuels
- Once you’ve done everything to reduce your impact, offset the rest with Cool Effect
Travel is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions. Travel, in all its various forms, accounts for over 8% of the world’s total carbon emissions. However, there are easy ways to make an impact in reducing travel-related emissions in order to join in the fight against climate change.
What has Cool Effect done to mitigate temperature in regards to climate change?
Blake – Cool Effect connects individuals, businesses and organizations with projects that verifiably reduce the dangerous gases causing climate change. Cool Effect has reduced over 1,000,000 tonnes and counting.
Where does the donation money go?
Blake –Cool Effect is a non-profit, and over 90% of your donation goes straight to projects that reduce greenhouse gases, which are the major cause of climate change. 9.87% of each Cool Effect contribution is used to cover the following:
- Credit Card Fee: 2%–4%
- Registry Fee (where applicable)
- Research Fee: 1.5%
- And the remainder goes toward a Cool Effect Administration Fee.
Cool Effect doesn’t keep any of the credit card or registry fee. In addition, Cool Effect will send you quarterly updates on projects you’ve donated to, so that you can see exactly how your donation is helping in the fight against climate change.
From reforestation to Methane capture, there are a range of projects you can find here. They are all verified by one of the world’s majors carbon standards.
Are the organizations that receive the money backed by any international standards? What are those standards?
Blake – Every project on Cool Effect’s platform is triple-verified, starting with a review and verification from one of the world’s major carbon standards—the Gold Standard, the Verified Carbon Standard, Climate Action Reserve, American Carbon Registry, or the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism. Once that’s complete, Global Offset Research, an independent subsidiary, verifies the project against a second set of international standards, such as those required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. From there, we review the project internally with a long checklist, including science, financials, project management, and verifiability. Once the Cool Effect team has checked the boxes on the stringent list of criteria, the project can be considered officially verified and added to the Cool Effect platform.
How is the price per tone of CO2 of each project calculated ? How accurate is it?
Blake – The price per tonne varies by project and ranges from $3.30 to $13.18, due to a variety of factors. Costs vary depending on quantity of credits, location, age of credits and manpower required to execute the project, data collection and management, cost and frequency of monitoring and verification, site visits, issuance and registry fees, maintenance costs, and the price of materials in that region of the world.
How is the amount of emissions by airplanes calculated ? How accurate is it?
Blake – Cool Effect harnessed the EPA’s most recently established emission factor data (2018) and approximated flight lengths from credible online sources. In order to estimate the total metric tonnage of greenhouse gas emissions per flight, Cool Effect chose to combine emissions of carbon dioxide (1:1), methane (25:1) and nitrous oxide (298:1) and adjust for the distinct global warming potential of each gas.
Cool Effect then applied these values over three different flight-length categories: Short, Medium and Long Haul. The purposeful inclusion of methane and nitrous oxide distinguishes this Flight Emissions Calculator from other sources, which often include solely carbon dioxide in their calculations.
Rounded to the nearest 0.01 tonnes, the Cool Effect Flight Emissions Calculator is meant to provide the environmentally-conscious flyer with sound knowledge on which to base each decision to offset.