Case Study

Offsetting carbon emissions

Local air quality Aviation's impact on the environment CORSIA Carbon management

The aviation industry has set a climate target to halve carbon emissions by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.

Initiatives to achieve this objective are manifold, ranging from increased production of sustainable aviation fuel to the implementation of radical technology in operations and infrastructure. Among the pathways to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, airlines are looking to carbon offsetting schemes as one means to support this initiative, which is spearheaded by the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

Carbon offsetting calculates the emissions generated from a single flight and converts it into purchased credits associated with projects that work to remove the equivalent amount of emissions from the atmosphere elsewhere. One of the projects that benefits from the carbon offsetting scheme is the Babinda Reef Project in Australia, which aims to restore wetlands and replant endangered rainforests. The project also supports the regeneration of riverbanks and planting trees that belong to the regional ecosystem.

C-Level is another organisation that operates several projects funded by carbon offsetting schemes. One such initiative protects 32,000 hectares of land from deforestation in Tanzania, which is a critical source of food and shelter for local communities. Another initiative focuses on tropical reforestation in Nicaragua, engaging local farmers who plant trees that are valuable to the region, thereby minimising the likelihood of future deforestation efforts.

A further project led by the Gold Standard in Rwanda aims to reduce the use of firewood, which accounts for 86% of national energy consumption. By distributing fuel-efficient cooking stoves to families, the organisation reduces household wood burning and minimises indoor air pollution, ultimately resulting in the emission of fewer greenhouse gases.

As more projects emerge, the potential to offset emissions not only seeks to stabilise aviation’s carbon footprint, but also seeks to engage local communities who benefit from these projects and look to the long-term sustenance of their local environments.