Easyjet is offsetting carbon dioxide emissions from all of its flights by planting trees and funding solar PV generation schemes in India. We consider the extent to which this will benefit the environment and how Easyjet’s environmental performance compares with other airlines.
Is offsetting the answer?
Offsetting will involve certified schemes which involve planting trees and funding renewable energy projects. These schemes will undoubtedly be beneficial for the environment. It could be argued that some of them would have been funded anyway – had they not been funded by Easyjet.
Having said that Easyjet recognises that offsetting is an interim solution and that it is actively seeking long term solutions for preventing CO2 emissions from its planes.
Is Easyjet’s Net Zero claim fair?
It has been argued that Easyjet’s net zero claim is misleading. It is saying that because all of its emissions are offset by other beneficial schemes that it is a net zero emitter. Technically it is correct – it is saying “net zero” not “zero”. However the claim is a little misleading in our view because:
- Some of the offset schemes it is funding would have happened anyway – funded by others
- Planting schemes are only storing carbon dioxide which will eventually be released
- The main driver needs to be reducing emissions overall – however Easyjet is focussed on this
How does offsetting compare with carbon taxes?
The cost of offsetting carbon dioxide is around 4 US dollars per tonne. If carbon taxes are widely adopted they would be set at around 40 US dollars per tonne – ten times as much. Arguably the imposition of a carbon tax would be much more effective at reducing the impact of flying as it would become more expensive and demand for flights would reduce.
How green is Easyjet?
Things that makes Easyjet less green:
- It advertises and promotes flying
- It schedules flights and tries to fill them – rather than scheduling and flying to match demand
Things that makes Easyjet more green:
- It operates efficient aircraft
- It does not operate long haul flights
- It tries to fill its planes
- It has a high seat density
- It monitors its emissions
- It is trying to reduce its emissions in the short and long term
- It is offsetting its emissions
What could it do to be more green?
- Stop competing with high speed rail
- Stop flying less profitable flights (these are making emissions for flights people don’t really want to make)
- Focus on taking passengers from competitors rather than encouraging more flying generally
- Understand and manage the barriers that aviation presents to green energy – particularly the number of wind farms that get blocked due to radar impacts at the airports it uses.
Compared to the competition Easyjet is pretty green.
About Pager Power
Pager Power helps developers of wind farms, solar PV systems and tall buildings resolve technical planning issues.
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