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Track Your Flight Carbon Footprint Anywhere in the World

MONTREAL, Canada, June 19, 2008 (ENS) – The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, has unveiled a carbon calculation tool on its website that allows travelers to estimate the carbon footprint for any flight they take. A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.

For instance, one passenger, flying economy class from New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport to Washington, DC, a distance of 212 miles, generates about 0.08 tons of carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.

By contrast, the same passenger, flying economy class from JFK International airport to Los Angeles, a distance of 2,466 miles, generates about 0.36 tons of carbon dioxide.

Once a traveler knows how much carbon dioxide is produced for a given flight, he or she can purchase offsets, such as funding renewable energy or planting trees.

Prices for offsets vary widely depending on the projects funded from about $4 per metric ton to $99 per metric ton. Compare offset prices at websites such as EcoBusinessLinks.com, which is not affiliated with ICAO.


Planes line up for take-off from John
F. Kennedy International Airport
in the New York metropolitan
area. (Photo credit unknown)

The carbon calculator uses only publicly available and verifiable information to make its calculations about the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from a flight. It takes into account such variables as aircraft type, route data, passenger load and the amount of cargo.

Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, president of the ICAO Council, said the calculator should benefit both individuals and organizations and will improve as a tool as more technical and operational information becomes available.

“The carbon calculator responds to the wish of many travellers for a reliable and authoritative method to estimate the carbon footprint of a flight, so they can choose the program best suited to offset the impact of their trips on climate change according to the amount of carbon dioxide they are responsible for,” Kobeh said.

It was introduced Wednesday by the Montreal-based ICAO as part of efforts to support the UN Climate Neutral Initiative, which calls for all parts of the UN system to determine their total carbon emissions.

The new carbon calculator is being backed by the UN World Tourism Organization.

The International Air Transport Association is also recommending the methodology used in the carbon calculator to its member airlines for use in their carbon-offsetting programs, in part to achieve a more consistent approach to estimating the carbon footprint of flights.

Increasing information in the area of carbon, emissions trading and offsets is one of the objectives of ICAO’s first ever “Aviation and Carbon Markets Workshop” that was held yesterday and today in Montreal.

More than 200 participants of the forum met to explore opportunities for a global aviation carbon market.

Carbon markets are designed to combat climate change by putting a price on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Companies can trade the right to emit these gases through permits, credits, or allowances.

ICAO’s carbon calculator is online, click here [www2.icao.int].

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