Carbon offsetting for expeditions

wookey

Active member
I am interested in what other trips have done regarding offsetting and other efforts to reduce carbon
The CUCC Loser expo has this policy:
3.2.3
Travel to and from Expo will be carbon offset. This will be calculated on an individual basis and added to the expo bill. Expedition members are responsible for supplying information on fuel usage (travelling by car) or journey details (train or plane) for the purposes of carbon offsetting calculation.

There is actually quite a lot of nuance to this and I'm failing to find those details written down on the website. But in summary:
* Flight emissions are calculated with atmosfair.de
* Train emissions are calculated with ecopassenger.org
* Bus emissions are calculated
* Car emissions are calculated either with ecopassenger.org, or from actual fuel receipts/consumption information, and shared amongst occupants (fiets.uk, myclimate.org and viamichelin all provide reasonable calculators with different pros/cons - fiets.uk was the most accurate when I tested it).
* A 'whole trip' approach is used so if you fly over from the states and go to the UIS congress and the Loser expo, your emissions are calculated for the whole trip from the US, not just from the UIS site in France, then back to the US. This is mostly to stop people taking the piss by claiming to be going on a personal trip to visit the salt museum in Altaussee, then doing 'expo offset' travel of 5 miles from there to expo, and to make life simpler for the treasurer.
* Offsets are bought from Atmosfair (current price €23/tonne)

The expedition publishes its emissions numbers in reports and was the first UK expedition to formally adopt a compulsory offset policy so far as I know.

There has long been a policy of optimising travel generally (e.g. filling up cars) and lower-carbon travel methods (bus, train) have been encouraged for some years, although largely informally. However we remain unable to actually _prevent_ people who can afford it doing unhelpful things like drive out solo in a large/inefficient vehicle if they choose to.
The other significant change has been to stop buying loads of food and gear in the UK and driving it to Austria, but to buy as much as possible locally and order things to be delivered in Austria.
And more than 20 years ago we stopped driving a trailerfull of tents, cookers, pots and pans, tarps, barrels, bolts, rope, stretcher, 1st aid kits, tools etc back and forth every year, storing as much as possible in Austria. That was a small emissions gain and big faff-reduction.
Nearly everything is re-used from one expedition to the next, and IT equipment is all 2nd-hand so whilst obviously some stuff has to be bought new every year, excessive gear churn is largely avoided.
 

Loki

Active member
Basically we’re all fckd because people can’t/ won’t change thier own self indulgent lifestyles for the good of humanity and nature preservation.
Perhaps all expeds should actively oppose this barrier to our transition to green energy.

 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
The CUCC Loser expo has this policy:
3.2.3
Travel to and from Expo will be carbon offset. This will be calculated on an individual basis and added to the expo bill. Expedition members are responsible for supplying information on fuel usage (travelling by car) or journey details (train or plane) for the purposes of carbon offsetting calculation.

There is actually quite a lot of nuance to this and I'm failing to find those details written down on the website. But in summary:
* Flight emissions are calculated with atmosfair.de
* Train emissions are calculated with ecopassenger.org
* Bus emissions are calculated
* Car emissions are calculated either with ecopassenger.org, or from actual fuel receipts/consumption information, and shared amongst occupants (fiets.uk, myclimate.org and viamichelin all provide reasonable calculators with different pros/cons - fiets.uk was the most accurate when I tested it).
* A 'whole trip' approach is used so if you fly over from the states and go to the UIS congress and the Loser expo, your emissions are calculated for the whole trip from the US, not just from the UIS site in France, then back to the US. This is mostly to stop people taking the piss by claiming to be going on a personal trip to visit the salt museum in Altaussee, then doing 'expo offset' travel of 5 miles from there to expo, and to make life simpler for the treasurer.
* Offsets are bought from Atmosfair (current price €23/tonne)

The expedition publishes its emissions numbers in reports and was the first UK expedition to formally adopt a compulsory offset policy so far as I know.

There has long been a policy of optimising travel generally (e.g. filling up cars) and lower-carbon travel methods (bus, train) have been encouraged for some years, although largely informally. However we remain unable to actually _prevent_ people who can afford it doing unhelpful things like drive out solo in a large/inefficient vehicle if they choose to.
The other significant change has been to stop buying loads of food and gear in the UK and driving it to Austria, but to buy as much as possible locally and order things to be delivered in Austria.
And more than 20 years ago we stopped driving a trailerfull of tents, cookers, pots and pans, tarps, barrels, bolts, rope, stretcher, 1st aid kits, tools etc back and forth every year, storing as much as possible in Austria. That was a small emissions gain and big faff-reduction.
Nearly everything is re-used from one expedition to the next, and IT equipment is all 2nd-hand so whilst obviously some stuff has to be bought new every year, excessive gear churn is largely avoided.
Thanks Wookey. I read the sidebar piece in Descent on the CUCC expedition. Good to have a bit more detail on what you're doing.
 

Samouse1

Active member
Basically we’re all fckd because people can’t/ won’t change thier own self indulgent lifestyles for the good of humanity and nature preservation.
Perhaps all expeds should actively oppose this barrier to our transition to green energy.

Glad it’s the fault of individuals and not the 100 companies producing over 70% of emissions…
 

JoshW

Well-known member
Glad it’s the fault of individuals and not the 100 companies producing over 70% of emissions…
Whilst it is overwhelmingly the fault of those companies, it is all individuals responsibility to do what they can to reduce their “carbon footprint” and if that includes boycotting those companies, purchasing products with lower emissions associated (including reduced meat diets) then so be it.

I live in hope that individuals taking a stand and “voting with their feet/wallets” will send a strong enough message
 

Mark Wright

Active member
I've just been reading up on the carbon offsetting scheme used here. It's an interesting approach, but quite complicated and not as clear-cut as you might hope for.

The total carbon footprint of the expedition was calculated to be 31.105 tonnes. This was claimed to have been fully offset by the process of 'retiring 35 Natural Capital'. This means 35 Natural Capital Credits (NCCs): 1 NCC is responsible for offsetting 1 ton of Co2. NCCs are part of the Natural Forest Standard, which was created by two British companies as a way of making sure that carbon offsets done in accordance with the REDD+ programme (big UN programme for sequestering carbon via reforestation and reducing forest degradation) are transparent, locally-led, and include provisions toward biodiversity and local communities where the offsetting is happening. The offsetting is via a company called 'Go Balance', who also sponsored the expedition £3000. The actual offsetting project which the NCCs benefitted was the Trocano Araretama Project, a project in Brazil which at face value seems pretty legit and laudible, all sounds pretty good and is using the right language.

However, despite what NFS says about transparency, I can't work out where the money came from to fund these NCCs, and exactly how much money has been spent thusfar. There is a document which details the methodology for quantifying how many NCCs should be awarded to a particular project here, but even then without a better idea of the exact numbers involved its all a bit opaque as to how much cash went in, from where, and how it was then spent (more precisely than just 'local development' or similar).

In summary, I don't think this approach is something I would endorse without a lot more info regarding how the accounting works, in a way which is easy to understand and follow. As others have said, I think that local projects such as Moors for the Future and Yorkshire Dales Woodland Restoration Group would be better places to put cash towards offsets. Happy to change my mind if someone can clearly explain where the money comes from for the NCCs at Go Balance, how much money, and exactly how it was spent over the course of the project.
I contacted Gina about your queries regarding the carbon offsetting for our 2015 Greenland trip, and more generally, and got the following back from her;

'For our 2015 trip, this carbon offsetting was sponsorship and saved a lot of money. Had I been paying myself then I *might* not have chosen this type of carbon offsetting but I didn't look into it too much since it was sponsorship. What this company do is invest in projects and communities to stop the destruction of e.g. rainforests, thereby claiming that in stopping the deforestation that would have otherwise happened, they have offset carbon footprints. If you take Mulu as an example, then they would stop logging that was planned and keep the trees in the ground to remove the carbon. This has the advantage that the trees are already mature and doing their job of removing carbon (unlike tree planting schemes where it will be a few decades until they are doing anything worthwhile to remove CO2, which is pointless when we only have a decade left to act). Personally I think a lot of carbon offsetting schemes are a bit sketchy and I would proceed with caution. Of course, the best thing is to just not emit CO2 in the first place but I appreciate that isn't possible. I don't like the idea of rich nations trading carbon though and proceeding as normal, leaving undeveloped nations with a carbon budget deficit (meaning they can't then develop to developed-nation standards).

For Ghar Parau my advice would be to not be so strict about carbon offsetting but to ask applicants how they plan to reduce and mitigate their environmental impact. If they go for carbon offsetting then great, but there are other options too. For the latest Greenland expedition we had plant-based and vegetarian diets as much as possible and only ended up with meat because the shop ran out of vegan/vegetarian food. (Fun fact - if you cycle a mile on a diet fueled by cheese burgers, then you might as well drive the mile in an SUV). We tried to avoid expedition food with palm oil. SAS airlines also have a 'BIO ticket' where you pay more to use BIO fuel (https://www.flysas.com/en/fly-with-us/travel-extras/biofuel/).

Other ideas- Applicants could show plans for car sharing to get to the airport (I think most cavers would do this anyway, but get them to explicitly state it) - or take public transport. Encourage a circular economy (reduce, reuse, recycle) - again cavers are the best at this anyway, but rather than buy new items that require resources and energy to make, try and source second hand or borrow from other expeditions. There is a limit here too as I guess people don't want to share ropes, but the contents of most medical kits ends up in the bin after a few years or tackle sacks are fairly robust and could do a few rounds.'


We discussed the above subject at length at our Mulu 24 expedition meeting last weekend and I'm looking forward to hearing more about the subject this weekend.

Mark
 

mikem

Well-known member
Rob & Wookey are supposed to be doing the talk at 11.15 to 12 on Saturday in lecture theatre 3 (N.B. details can change):
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
Basically we’re all fckd because people can’t/ won’t change thier own self indulgent lifestyles for the good of humanity and nature preservation.
Since this thread commenced I have looked at non-flying options for getting to stay in the house in Lanzarote and P&O Cruises have responded positively to my enquiry about getting a 12 day cruise the the Canaries but hopping off on day 9 at the island and ending my cruise at that point, so there is an alternative way of getting there for the over-winter stint. Obviously it's significantly more expensive than flying but makes for a jolly-er arrival option and is actually so tempting I'm keen to do it just for the moral high ground/virtue signalling win it would represent. It would also eke out a seven week break into an almost nine week one and I like unshite weather so that's a double bonus.
 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Rob & Wookey are supposed to be doing the talk at 11.15 to 12 on Saturday in lecture theatre 3 (N.B. details can change):
Perhaps do something on line at a later date too. I can't make HE this year and even if I did I'd be drawn to the Northern Round Up on at the same time...
 

ChrisJC

Well-known member
Since this thread commenced I have looked at non-flying options for getting to stay in the house in Lanzarote and P&O Cruises have responded positively to my enquiry about getting a 12 day cruise the the Canaries but hopping off on day 9 at the island and ending my cruise at that point, so there is an alternative way of getting there for the over-winter stint. Obviously it's significantly more expensive than flying but makes for a jolly-er arrival option and is actually so tempting I'm keen to do it just for the moral high ground/virtue signalling win it would represent. It would also eke out a seven week break into an almost nine week one and I like unshite weather so that's a double bonus.
Umm - cruise ships are worse than planes:

You have to walk or cycle I am afraid. Preferably powered by yogurt, dreadlocks and knitted jumpers.

Chris.
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
Umm - cruise ships are worse than planes:

You have to walk or cycle I am afraid. Preferably powered by yogurt, dreadlocks and knitted jumpers.

Chris.
Thanks for the link Chris; I shall save significant £moolah and time by flying while also knowing I'm being ecologically upstanding by comparison to my other potential journey; multiple wins. Thricely hurrahs. Amazing how easy it is to reduce a carbon footprint when there are helpful souls pointing you in the right direction.
 

Loki

Active member
Was a poke at lifestyle eco folk who deserve a poke along with everyone else.
Hmmmm. Why is it people throw scorn, hatred and name calling, and stereotype views at the people who are trying to make all our lives and living environment a nicer place? Do the same people on here (you know who you are) have derogatory terms and stereotype views for let’s say, the people who drive around in rangerovers, fly to their second homes, ski, and have their retirement funds invested in Exxon Mobil? Unfortunately the former group is smaller and therefore easier to poke fun at than the latter. Deep down we all know which group has the moral high ground, we (humanity) just all need to man-up and admit it. Only then will real progress will be made towards a healthier future.
 

ChrisJC

Well-known member
It’s not humour, it’s racism.
I'm slightly concerned about your world view if you consider stereotyping people like Swampy as racist!

Yes it's a stereotype of an environmentalist. Using terms that were a long running meme on Aditnow. Stereotypes are funny, have you seen the latest round of Ladybird books? I'm sure you'd enjoy the Brexit one which stereotypes people like me in a way that I might consider hurtful if I was a sensitive type.

But to the topic at hand, well, clearly it's a difficult problem! I hope Badlad can find a solution that eases his conscience and genuinely makes a difference. It seems all to easy to ease the conscience but make the problem worse.

Chris.

P.S. the term 'man-up' is sexist and archaic. What are women supposed to do?
 
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