Calculate your flight's carbon impact with Carbon Planet

Calculating the amount of carbon you need to offset for a flight can be complicated if your airline doesn't already offer a built-in facility to pay for this when you buy the ticket. Carbon Planet's Flight Emissions Calculator can help out, calculating the emissions involved in any sequence of flights and optionally letting you purchase a carbon credit for them. The airport entry system is a bit fiddly, but seems to cover most Australian cities with airports. The calculated impact in dollar terms also seems a tad high — it's about ten times more than Qantas charges on its site for similar flights — but it's still an interesting investigative tool. Thanks Martin!

[Flight Emissions Calculator]


    Nokia has also released a mobile flight carbon offset calculator called we:offset that allows you to purchase carbon credits right from your handset.

    Thanks for the mention of our flight emissions calculator, we are very proud of it and have put a huge amount of work into the underlying algorithms. The simple reason that our calculator shows higher emissions totals than Qantas' is that we take into account what is known as the Radiative Forcing Index, a multiplier used because the greenhouse impact of emissions at high altitude is greater than if they were emitted on the ground.

    We have recently updated the science behind the calculator in line with European best practice and this has actually reduced the original RFI figure from 2.7 to around 1.9. We have also fine-grained a lot of the flights to account for short 'Dash-8' hops that fly at a low enough altitude to not warrant the inclusion of RFI. All in all I am confident that Carbon Planet's calculator is the most accurate and inclusive flight emissions calculator available. There is a PDF at the base of the flight calc page that explains this in a lot more detail.

    The other reason our flight offsets are not as cheap as Qantas' relates to ownership. Carbon Planet has always made a very big deal about transparency, and is the only flight offsetter that actually transfers the ownership of all carbon credits sold to its customers. When you offset via Qantas, or indeed any other flight offset operation, they generally simply take your money and assure you that the carbon has been dealt with. I am sure they do the right thing but it's not really very transparent. Carbon Planet, on the other hand, creates an account for you in the appropriate carbon Registry (eg the NSW GGas Registry, or the National Environment Registry, or the TZ1 Registry in New Zealand for some examples) and transfer the carbon credit(s), in whole tonne increments, to your account and then surrender them for you, meaning the carbon credit's work is done and it can no longer be resold. You, the customer, end up with actual carbon credits that you can verify the veracity of via the 3rd party registry. It costs a bit more, but you know you are getting what you pay for. Some day all offset companies will be this transparent but right now the industry practice is far too opaque for our liking.


    Dave Sag
    Founder and Executive Director
    Carbon Planet Limited

    (ps - ironically enough this is written while sitting in the Qantas lounge)

    It seems "dave" and pals are still "working out" exactly how damaging CO2 is to the environment and to man kind. We're told that the science surrounding Climate Change is sound and is a reality threatening our very existence. I'm not convinced that this guilt-trip-stealth-tax is the answer.

    In the post above you mention that you changed the 'weighting' of the output calculations so now people who paid in the past are now getting ripped off under 'todays' price plan.

    The environmental movement has lost it's direction and is now heading into shady territory. IMHO.

    @mr x: Yes you are right, the science behind computation of aviation emissions is advancing rapidly. When we started the models were much simpler than they are now, and I expect that these models will improve further as time goes on. And yes, you are, in essence right. People who offset their flights using the old numbers overcompensated slightly using today's numbers. But the numbers have always been the best, most accurate we could provide and by and large customer feedback has been positive about the incremental improvements to the algorithms.

    I'd not say our clients were ripped off however as that implies some sort of deceit. Our numbers are as accurate as we can make them at the time of sale. If the algorithms change, for whatever reason (and they will as aviation becomes less carbon intensive), then the numbers will have to change to reflect that. One can not then echo those changes back in time to past purchases.

    Dave Sag
    Founder and Executive Director
    Carbon Planet Limited

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