What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting, also referred to as carbon compensation, is the term used for the action of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere to compensate CO2 emissions produced elsewhere. CO2 reduction from a different location than the CO2 source is a viable option, as CO2 has the same effect on the atmosphere wherever it is created or compensated.
How is carbon offset achieved?
The CO2 offset is achieved by investing in projects that reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, such as protecting areas from deforestation and replacing fossil fuel power stations with wind farms. Projects that are eligible under the P&WC Carbon Offset Service must be certified with recognized standards to ensure:
- Permanence of the emissions reduction.
- Assurance that the reduction would not have happened without the financial contribution as an enabler (i.e., the emissions reduction would not have otherwise happened as a result of regulations or normal business conduct).
- Transparency of the CO2 reductions achieved (i.e., the emissions reduction is listed on a public registry).
- Monitoring, reporting and verification of the projects driving the emissions reduction.
Why does CO2 offsetting matter?
The release of CO2 in the atmosphere contributes to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is believed to cause climate change and global warming and have a detrimental impact on the environment, economy and health of individuals. CO2 offsetting constitutes a favorable initiative toward the reduction of the greenhouse effect.
Why do organizations and individuals rely on carbon offsetting instead of reducing or avoiding CO2 emissions at the source?
Due to technological limitations, it is currently not possible to avoid CO2 emissions at the source for many industries, including aviation (aircraft engines use jet fuel which releases CO2 emissions in the atmosphere during the combustion process). However, Pratt & Whitney and Raytheon Technologies continuously invest in reducing their CO2 emissions and environmental footprint.
Pratt & Whitney sustainability initiatives include developing more efficient engines, reduced engine maintenance requirements and components replacement rates, material re-utilization and recycling, chemicals banning, machinery and sites optimization (energy and water usage, recycling, composting), and incentivizing use of public transit or working from home for employees. Combined with CO2 emission avoidance and reduction practices, carbon compensation is an initiative in the right direction.
Do other options exist for operators to reduce their CO2 footprint outside of carbon offsetting?
Yes, the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) typically yield a much lower CO2 footprint than jet fuel alone. SAF production figures are currently too low to meet market demand and as a result SAF is not globally available to operators. Pratt & Whitney engines are already approved to operate using up to 50% SAF/JetA/A-1 blend with blended fuel meeting ASTM D7566, which is the internationally accepted fuel standard. Electric and hybrid-electric aircraft are also in the development phase, but are not anticipated to be available for passenger transportation for many years.
Why do global carbon offset projects require funding?
Carbon offsetting initiatives are considered as “going beyond normal business conduct” and require support and sustainment through ongoing funding. For example, forest conservation projects require funding to have a portion of the land purchased and permanently protected from deforestation. Forest conservation allows protected trees to capture and reduce CO2 from the atmosphere.
How are carbon offset credits calculated?
The cost of carbon offset credits are determined by estimating CO2 emissions based on engine model, your reported flight hours and the global carbon credit market pricing, which is comprised of both mandatory compliance markets and voluntary markets. Each credit represents approximately one ton of CO2 compensated.
The credits purchased adhere to internationally recognized standards and are audited regularly by independent third-party organizations as well as P&WC.
Will certificates be issued to customers who enroll for this service?
A Certificate of Carbon Compensation will be issued by South Pole and provided by P&WC to enrolled customers.