Atmosfair is a German organization focused on climate change protection through air travel carbon offsetting. It was launched in 2005 with support from the German Federal Environment Agency, and provides its customers with the tools to calculate the carbon cost of their air tickets and pay a “carbon offsetting” price for the CO2 that will be produced by their air travel. The funds collected by Atmosfair are then used to finance and develop clean and renewable energy sources in developing countries, using the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism Gold Standard as designated under the Kyoto Protocol. Atmosfair focuses particularly on working with companies, providing them with an extensive CO2 report of emissions from their business trips and allowing them to determine which clean development projects to sponsor with their carbon offsetting funds.
(Construction of a cow-dung based biogas unit in Kenya)
Atmosfair calls attention to the issue that air travel consumes a tremendous amount of fossil fuel, and that a clean technological solution such as a biofuel or zero-emission plane does not exist yet to reduce the emissions from global travel. Atmosfair argues that although someday customers may have the option to purchase plane tickets that guarantee the use or renewable energy, today the only option is to compensate for their flight emissions. Through atmosfair’s clean development programs in developing countries, the organization saves CO2 that would otherwise have been created by less efficient energy production, and introduces cleaner technology and climate education to communities that may have previously not been exposed to this technology and these issues. Examples of the clean development projects include the construction of fuel-efficient irrigation pumps in India, solar home systems in Ethiopia, and clean electricity from wind power in Nicaragua. Climate change is a large-scale problem that affects people from all over the world, but the causes have originated largely in the developed world. Atmosfair provides one way nations and corporations can cooperate across geographic boundaries to try and compensate for carbon use to develop cleaner energy sources and mitigate future climate risks.
Written by: Christopher Ewell, AGS Intern on June 1, 2015