Carbon Offsetting: what's the value for GA?

When Stein Pilot Insurance announced it is going to cover the carbon footprint for all new recreational pilot clients for a full year, FLYER wanted to know a bit more about the scheme and how it applies to General Aviation.

General Aviation Carbon Offsetting (GACO), was founded by Oliver Foster-Pollard, a PPL holder who flies out of Leicestershire Airport, with the aim to give aviators the option to ‘fly green’. FLYER asked Oliver a few questions:

Q The main way of offsetting carbon is by planting trees, according to your website. Where are they planted and will the world run out of space for tree planting? 

A You are correct in saying that the most popular way for us to sequester carbon is through tree planting projects. Not only do we benefit from the environmental benefits, but this also yields numerous inherent benefits to the local communities where these trees are planted.

We offer our customers two ways to plant trees, the first is through our UK tree planting portfolio and the second is our worldwide tree planting portfolio; this covers countries such as Madagascar, Kenya and Haiti.

If the current, unsustainable practices we follow as humans today are not altered or mediated through new advancements in technology, throughout every global sector, then it is no hidden fact that there is not enough space in the world to plant trees to offset CO2 emissions.

Our mission here at GACO is to help reduce the effect our flying has on the environment until newer and more sustainable technology is developed.

Q What guarantee does a pilot have that the trees have been planted and are surviving? 

A We work with global tree planting partners who utilise local experts to plant the best trees, in the correct locations, in the optimum conditions – using their expertise to navigate any challenges they may face along the way. This enables us to ensure your trees are planted for ultimate growth and CO2 sequestration.

Our latest statistics are:

  • CO2 Offset 140.5 tonnes
  • Trees Planted 625
  • Flying hours offset Approx 2,400

Q Some people say schemes like carbon offsetting are simply ‘greenwash’ and don’t address the real problem. Greta Thunberg even called carbon-offset schemes ‘a dangerous climate lie’. What do you say to those comments?

A It is no secret that Carbon Offsetting is not the answer to our current environmental crisis. Thus, in industries where newer more environmentally friendly technologies are available, we encourage companies to take that up.

The issue with General Aviation is that most aircraft use older and more inefficient technology, because it is more commercially viable to operate, and because of the availability of parts.

As well as this, General Aviation has not been through an ‘industrial revolution’ like the automotive industry is going through, with electric cars becoming more commonplace.

Technologically we have access to electric aircraft; however current technology makes it difficult for flying schools to adopt due to costs and the time the aircraft can be flown for.

Our mission at GACO is to help companies demonstrate a responsible approach to flying and to reduce their environmental impact now, by planting trees to sequester emissions, so that when the technology curve finally catches up in aviation our emissions have already been or are being sequestered.

Q What are your targets for 2022 and beyond? 

A Our targets throughout 2022 are to grow the initiative across the UK and worldwide, to inspire the next generation of pilots to fly green through educational classes and to give away ‘green’ flying scholarships to our supporters.

The types of insurance Stein arranges for pilots include life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection and loss of class 1 medical insurance.

“This initiative will cover up to 50 hours of flying in any machine of up to 250hp which should cover the vast majority of powered aeroplane pilots,” said Russ Stein, Director.

Stein Pilot Insurance

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  • Dave Hall says:

    I’m with Greta Thunberg on the lie that’s being told. The vast majority of trees, if not all of them rot eventually and release the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. It may help temporarily, but isn’t a solution to the problem.

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