As a follow up from my responsible tourism article, where I focused on the environmental impacts of tourism. I thought I would write a dedicated post for those keen travellers looking a bit closer at their direct impact when travelling, whether this is the odd holiday or long term travel. With everyday activities we use energy and as a result, produce carbon emissions. When it comes to travel, air travel, in particular, is a huge source of carbon emissions. With an estimated single transatlantic return flight emitting almost half the CO2 emissions produced by all other sources. Carbon offsetting is effectively used to counteract or compensate the carbon you emit yearly whether this is through actives such as driving, heating or why most of your are here – flying. This is done by funding or actively participating in equivalent carbon dioxide savings elsewhere. Below I showcase carbon offset programs working towards a carbon reduction commitment. In the end, you can find a CO2 flight calculator/carbon emissions flight calculator to calculate your daily, monthly or yearly emissions.

Offset Your Carbon Emissions: Air Travel

CO2 Flight Calculator

The best way to explain this for you to estimate your yearly production through a carbon emissions flight calculator. Using a CO2 flight calculator you can select whether you are looking to search for individual emission or business emissions. Following the subsequent steps on the carbon emissions flight calculator, you can select your country and enter details for flight paths you may have taken in the past year or intend to take over the course of the year. For example, inputting 3 return flights from London to Los Angeles a year produces 15.111 tonnes of CO2 emissions. 

Carbon Offset Programs - CO2 Flight Calculator

At the base of this article, you will find the CO2 flight calculator (showcased above) to allow you to calculate your yearly carbon emissions.

With this value, you can now discover carbon offset projects that will counteract the amount of carbon you are emitting yearly. Companies such as provides a list of carbon offset options in a currency of your choice. These carbon reduction commitment programs range from local investments such as UK Tree planting to reforestation in Kenya, meaning you can select the best carbon reduction commitment for you.

Carbon Reduction Commitment Projects

Carbon reduction commitment projects or carbon offset projects not only provide carbon reduction but can provide additional benefits in the form of biodiversity, education, jobs, food security, clean drinking water and health & well-being in developing countries.

When looking at carbon reduction commitment projects, the aim is to find those with:

  • Certified Emission Reductions (CERs)
  • Gold Standard CERs
  • Gold Standard Verified Emission Reductions (VERs)
  • Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certified credits
  • Quality Assurance Standard (QAS) for Carbon Offsetting.

Carbon Offset Companies & Projects

Carbon offset projects can vary in terms of their cost, typical fees tend to be £8 ($12) for each tonne of CO2 you offset. Neutralising a return flight from London to Los Angeles would come in around £20 per ticket whilst to neutralise a year’s worth of gas and electricity use for a typical  British family comes in around £45 a year.

Carbon Footprint

As a founding member of the Quality Assurance Standard (QAS) Not only do Carbon Footprint provide easy access to 20 carbon reduction commitment projects they financially supporting UK projects, by reinvesting a proportion of the profits the business makes. This includes projects such as Combined Heat & Power (CHP) and Biomass to help decarbonise the country. (The main company listed above has been Carbon FootPrint, however, there are alternative companies that also provide Carbon offset projects. )

Carbon Offset Programs - CO2 Flight Calculator


Climate Care

Since their founding in 1997, their innovative finance models have delivered multiple positive environmental outcomes from cutting out 32.6 million tonnes of CO2 and improved 33.5 million lives, including providing safe and clean light to over 1.2 million Kenyans and entreating into partnerships such as the Gola Rainforest Project.

Carbon Offset Programs - CO2 Flight Calculator

Carbon Fund

With a mission towards a Zero Carbon World through reducing what you can and offsetting what you can’t. Carbon fund encourages everyone to continually strive to reduce their carbon footprint through sensible energy reductions combined with cost-effective carbon offsets to eliminate their overall carbon footprint. Working with the best certification bodies in the business to deliver the highest quality offsets.

Carbon Offset Programs - CO2 Flight Calculator

The Price of Offsetting – Can it be a scam?

Much of the main criticism that surrounded offsetting arose due to many original projects focusing on tree plantations. Although some of these original concerns were valid the concept and projects have since grown and improved with best-known schemes now vastly varying in nature. Schemes have switched from anything from distributing efficient cooking stoves through to capturing methane gas at landfill sites. Projects such as these make quicker and more efficient carbon savings along with community benefits.

Can Carbon Offsetting Be A Scam?

Carbon offsetting is still debated amongst scientists and environmentalists alike and I agree that it isn’t the whole answer and should only be used in particular situations that depend on the individual. For example I, unfortunately, travel by air many times a year due to my work, however, this is something I cannot avoid therefore offsetting is a good way for me counteract the damage I am doing but it doesn’t end there I am actively participating in plastic reduction and reuse/waste-less schemes to name a few. This showcases a need and want for positive change rather than using offsetting as a means to an end for overindulgence and a guilty conscious.

Further arguments have arisen since the founding of such carbon reduction commitment projects, touching once again on what was mentioned above in relation to the effectiveness of the project to ‘soak up CO2’ and avoid further emissions. Herein lies the above-mentioned certification systems. Although Offsets with these standards offer extra credibility … but that still doesn’t make them watertight.

With current forms of Offsetting costing very little, people can often be confused as to how valid or useful they can be. The simple fact is, in reality, there are so many inexpensive ways to reduce emissions the unfortunate matter of fact is not enough governments are implementing these simple and inexpensive programs. If governments were to step up to the mark and start implementing these programs, the costs of offsets would rise yes. This is because they are currently simple, extremely effective ‘quick wins’.

Why Don’t Airline’s Offset Their Own Carbon?

Originally, albeit still running on some websites, airlines used to provide the customer with the ability to directly offset their carbon at the end of their flight purchase. Although the majority of airlines have phased out this option they have not stopped working on the program. By 2021 airlines that fly internationally will have to offset any extra emissions under a UN agreement (called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, agreed on in 2018 in Montreal, Canada) so carriers are no longer relying on individuals to tick that box.

Does that mean I don’t have to offset my own carbon? As a simple answer carbon neutrality is neutral, carbon negatives are what you really should be aiming for if you want to be proactive against climate change and the long term impact you’re having on the environment.

As mentioned in my responsible tourism article travel has a bigger impact on the world than just greenhouse gas emissions.

You can directly carbon offset your flights by clicking here

Carbon Emissions Flight Calculator

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Well, I hope you guys found this article how to Offset Your Carbon Emissions with a CO2 flight calculator helpful!
Let me know if you try out any of the programs suggested by the companies listed in this article.


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How To Offset Your Carbon Emissions Using A CO2 Flight Calculator