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UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 11 | Nov. 1, 2007

UBC Climate Change Experts Help Create First Carbon Neutral Airline

By Basil Waugh

Offsetters Climate Neutral Society, founded by two UBC professors, is helping the airline industry to reduce its impact on the environment through carbon offsets, a method for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Harbour Air, the world’s largest all-seaplane airline, recently partnered with Offsetters to become the first carbon neutral air carrier in North America.

To mitigate its environmental impact, on Oct. 1, 2007, Harbour Air introduced a surcharge on all flight services. Offsetters will invest the funds into renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on the airline’s behalf.

Founded by Hadi Dowlatabadi, a Canada Research Chair in UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, and James Tansey of UBC’s Centre for Applied Ethics and Sauder School of Business, Offsetters has been helping individuals and organizations to reduce their carbon footprint since 2005.

In addition to the Harbour Air initiative, Offsetters has partnerships with financial institutions, utilities, apparel companies, travel agencies and other airlines such as Westjet, that enable individuals and companies to calculate, reduce and mitigate the environmental impact of their activities.

Offsetters has funded a number of international green projects, including efficient lighting in households in South Africa, biogas digesters to save a tiger habitat in India, and efficient cooking stoves in Honduras and Madagascar.

The non-profit company is in the process of establishing its first heat recovery projects in North America. According to Tansey, ground-source heat pump systems and greywater heat recovery technologies are a cost-effective means to achieve dramatic reductions in building and district level GHG emissions.

All Offsetters-funded projects are monitored by a third party to confirm they are producing emissions reductions that are “real, permanent and additional -- meaning that they wouldn’t have taken place without Offsetters’ involvement,” says Tansey. “So our users know their contributions result in tangible climate benefits.”

For more information, visit www.offsetters.ca.

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Last reviewed 31-Oct-2007

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