Rocky Mountain Institute signs partnership deal with The Good Traveler carbon offsetting programme

Fri 10 Nov 2017 – The Good Traveler carbon offsetting programme is to be administered by the global non-profit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) under a multi-year partnership. The programme is a non-profit collaboration among US airports and transportation authorities that includes San Diego International Airport, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the Port of Seattle and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. RMI will join their Advisory Member Group to help shape future strategy of the programme, with an objective to grow the market for high-quality carbon reduction options and to cultivate new travel-based emissions-reduction projects.

The Good Traveler programme was launched in September 2015 by San Diego International, which issued a Request for Proposals earlier this year from parties interested in operating the programme and supplying carbon offsets (see article).

“The programme is an important part of our efforts to address the impact of carbon emissions on climate change,” said the airport’s CEO, Kim Becker. “We are proud to see it grow and expand to other airports across the country.”

Under the programme, 100% of funds are directed to reducing the carbon impact of the aviation sector and airport communities. Offsets are verified and retired through the Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard, the Gold Standard or American Carbon Registry.

The programme’s portfolio currently supports regional climate mitigation projects in the US that includes the Arcata Community Forest in Northern California, the Big Smile Wind Farm at Dempsey Ridge and Water Restoration Certificates by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

“The Good Traveler is a great way to help our travellers reduce their footprint, ensuring carbon offsets are verifiable, traceable and invested in projects that benefit our economy,” said Christine Weydig, Director of the Port Authority of NY and NJ’s Office of Environmental and Energy Programs.

RMI says it plans to incorporate in-sector travel emissions-reduction projects over time, such as projects involving sustainable aviation fuels.

Founded in 1982, RMI’s mission is to “transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure low-carbon future and to engage with others to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables.” In 2014, the Carbon War Room initiative started by Virgin’s Richard Branson was merged with and now operates as part of RMI.

“We’re thrilled to join these airport leaders advancing sustainable travel and we are committed to ensuring The Good Traveler drives carbon reduction innovation,” said Adam Klauber, Director of RMI’s Sustainable Aviation programme, commenting on the new partnership. “We look forward to expanding its customer base and to integrating in-sector offset projects. This will be a game-changer for decarbonising the fast-growing aviation industry.”

Added Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman: “Visitors and citizens of the Seattle region care deeply about the environment and we are responding with our own commitment to reduce the Port’s carbon emissions by 50%. The Good Traveler is a perfect complement to these programmes. Passengers can be personally involved in reducing their carbon footprint through an easy-to-use, intuitive offsetting programme designed specifically for air travellers.”

Travellers can purchase credits from The Good Traveler website or retail outlets and works on a simple basis of a payment of $2 for every 1,000 miles flown. As of July 2017, the programme is reported to have offset nearly 20 million air miles equivalent to 3,352 tonnes of CO2.

The airport partners say the programme is also working towards more efficiently investing airport revenue into offsetting carbon emissions from ground operations through the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

Copyright © 2017 GreenAir Communications

KLM signs agreement with Costa Rica to explore potential for sustainable biofuel flights from San Jose

Tue 7 Nov 2017 – KLM has entered into a cooperation agreement with the government of Costa Rica to research the possibility of flights out of the capital San Jose using sustainable aviation fuel. The Dutch carrier said it was the first time such an agreement had been made by an airline with a government. The two parties signed a letter of intent last week that will see KLM share its knowledge and expertise with the government in close cooperation with partner SkyNRG. The move coincided with the KLM launch after a 20-year break of a direct twice-weekly return service between San Jose and Amsterdam that will be operated by a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner.

“This cooperative effort is a new step in making civil aviation more sustainable,” said KLM COO René de Groot. “The greater the production – and therefore the greater supply of biofuels – the lower the price will be and the more businesses will use it. KLM and Costa Rica are taking the lead now. It would be great if other airlines, governments and the entire biofuel supply chain took such steps.”

In 2009, KLM became the first airline in the world to operate a flight using sustainable biofuel, which it followed with its first commercial flight in 2010. Since then, the carrier has operated more than a thousand flights using bio-based jet fuel. From October 2016, it started using sustainable biofuel derived from recycled cooking oil that is produced by AltAir and delivered by SkyNRG on all flights from Los Angeles for a period of three years. The Los Angeles biofuel is delivered directly to the storage tanks at the airport, which also hold the conventional jet kerosene supply. Oslo Airport was the first airport to supply a percentage of sustainable fuel through its regular fuelling process, with KLM purchasing biofuel there for a series of 80 flights.

KLM operates a Corporate BioFuel Programme through which a variety of companies contribute to stimulate the use of sustainable biofuel and help bridge the cost gap with conventional fuel. However, says KLM, the market for sustainable biofuel remains far from mature and the price is three times higher than that of fossil fuel.

Except for El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala, Costa Rica is the only country in Latin America to volunteer so far to join the ICAO CORSIA global carbon offsetting scheme from the start.

Copyright © 2017 GreenAir Communications