UN agency devises calculator to estimate carbon footprints of flights

19 June 2008

The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has unveiled a carbon calculation tool on its website that allows travellers to estimate the “carbon footprint” for any given flight they take.

The Carbon Calculator uses only publicly available and verifiable information to make its calculations about the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from a flight, taking into account such variables as aircraft type, route data, passenger load and the amount of cargo.

Roberto Kobeh González, President of the ICAO Council, said the calculator should benefit both individuals and organizations and will improve as a tool as more technical and operational information becomes available.

“The Carbon Calculator responds to the wish of many travellers for a reliable and authoritative method to estimate the carbon footprint of a flight, so they can choose the programme best suited to offset the impact of their trips on climate change according to the amount of carbon dioxide they are responsible for,” Mr. Kobeh said.

It has been introduced by the Montreal-based ICAO as part of efforts to support the UN Climate Neutral Initiative, which calls for all parts of the UN system to determine their total carbon emissions, and is being backed by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is also recommending the methodology used in the Carbon Calculator to its member airlines for use in their carbon-offsetting programmes, in part to achieve a more consistent approach to estimating the carbon footprint of flights.

 

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