Carbon Offsets Offer Near-term Emissions Solution

 - March 30, 2022, 11:40 PM
Nancy Bsales, COO at aviation sustainability consultancy 4AIR. (Photo: Curt Epstein)

As aviation companies set carbon-reduction goals and with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) currently accounting for only 1 percent of global jet fuel needs, carbon offsets represent a near-term solution, according to Nancy Bsales, the COO at aviation sustainability consultancy 4AIR. “Offsets bridge the gap,” she told the audience at AIN’s Building a Sustainable Flight Department forum yesterday in Los Angeles. “We do not expect them to be the end solution.”

Bsales said a flight department must first determine its carbon footprint. “If you’re burning about 100,000 gallons a year, it’s about 9.67 kilograms of CO2 for every gallon, so we’re talking about 967 tonnes of carbon.” That amount can then be offset through the purchase of carbon credits, which are used to fund environmental projects. Each credit has criteria that must be met, such as verification through accredited third-party auditing that will assign each tonne of carbon reduction its own serial number.

As an example project, she described the capping of dairy farm waste lagoons to prevent the spread of methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than CO2 into the atmosphere. Funding generated through the purchase of credits could result in digester ponds that can generate electricity as they destroy methane, providing added benefit. Such projects typically cost several million dollars.