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Carbon Offset Flights

In collaboration with the CarbonNeutral® Company in the UK, Quark Expeditions® now offers passengers a pay-as-you-fly carbon offsetting program for international and domestic flights. Carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the largest source of climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

For only US$58.13 per person, those travelling with Quark can have this option easily added to their booking to help offset the carbon dioxide emissions of their flights to the Polar Regions. This can be done by contacting a Quark Polar Travel Adviser or when booking on Quark’s website.

By choosing this option, you will be helping the environment by offsetting the equivalent of 5 tons of CO2 emissions. This is the equivalent of 16,281 car miles or 57 car trips from London to Paris.”

Quark is committed to the Polar Regions and ensuring they remain pristine for generations to come. Quark was the first Polar operator to offer carbon neutral voyages to Antarctica on its ship, Ocean Diamond at no additional cost to passengers. This initiative was launched during the 2012.13 Antarctic season and will continue on for its third season through 2014.15. Quark also offsets all staff air travel, uses low-emission marine gas oil (MGO) on its ships, use eco-friendly laundry chemicals and cabin amenities, and provide every passenger with a reusable water bottle instead of plastic bottles.

Carbon Neutral Projects Selected

Zhangjiakou Wind Power Project

The Hebei province in China has a strong industry of coal, oil, textile, iron/steel, ceramic, and processed-food production. Located near Beijing, and with a population of nearly 70 million, this heavily-industrialised province is one of the biggest polluting provinces in China.

And while China consumes approximately 11.72 trillion kW of energy a year, its current wind power supplies less than one per cent of this demand. Luckily, China has an abundance of wind resources, and abundant energy source that can be used to generate clean electricity through wind turbines.

The Zhangjiakou Wind Power Project is a Gold Standard project providing a clean solution to China’s growing energy demands through the installation of wind turbines connected to the local grid. Specifically, the project is responsible for the delivery of 49.5MW of clean electricity. As the electricity would otherwise have been sourced from fossil fuel power stations, greenhouse gases are reduced. As a Gold Standard project, developers must consult with community stakeholders on project operations, resulting in strong support and input from the local community. 

In addition to the climate change benefits, the project has created 165 temporary jobs in the project’s development phase, and 25 permanent jobs in its operations phase. As well as the employment benefits the project provides, the project owner operates a shuttle bus that takes staff from their homes to the wind farm, and has constructed an onsite well for the local community. 

Acre Amazonian Rainforest Conservation Project

Brazil’s Acre state is home to the Amazon basin and some of the world’s most biologically diverse habitats. It is also the location of the Acre Amazonian Rainforest Conservation Project, a project that works closely with local communities to prevent deforestation in the area’s 35,000 hectares of untouched rainforest by using carbon revenues to help protect the ecosystem while also providing alternative economic development.

Located on a major tributary of the Amazon, the project protects important inland water ecosystems that provide pollution, nutrient absorption and recycling benefits, flood management and drinking water supply.

While providing biodiversity and ecosystem protection, these types of projects are potentially one of the most significant ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions, as deforestation and forest degradation account for approximately 18% of global emissions. 

Uganda Community Reforestation Project

Starting in 2003 and focused on the towns of Bushenyi, Kabale and Kanungu in Uganda, the Uganda Community Reforestation Project consists of over 5,000 farmers and almost five million trees. Subsistence farmers plant trees on their land to the extent they can afford to, and receive annual payments for each successfully planted tree and additionally collect carbon revenues as the trees grow and sequester carbon. The community members are also permitted to use deadwood and small branch trimmings for fuel, a more sustainable way of meeting a basic need of the population.

The Uganda Community Reforestation Project guarantees each farmer a minimum $10 of additional income if they plant the entry level 500 trees per year, which equates to 1-4% of their annual income. Some tree groves have 20,000 trees. Ultimately, the small groups will receive 70% of the net carbon revenues.

The project activity creates job opportunities for the local communities, particularly in the form of tree quantifiers, and the communities benefit from the increased availability and access to tree products such as firewood.

The communities also receive training on sustainable forestry and farming, provided through seminars and small group meetings. Nursery training and development covers species selections and their benefits, how to gather and prepare seeds, building and maintaining nurseries, and improving crop production. Special attention is given to the benefits of indigenous trees and trees that provide food and other regularly available products, such as medicines, insecticides, and fuel wood.

This Uganda Community Reforestation Project has already been validated to the VCS and verified the emissions reductions generated from 2003 to 2011. The GHG reductions are calculated using an approved United Nations (UN) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Afforestation/Reforestation methodology permissible for use under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). The project has seen an increase in eligible grove areas over the last year and has clear signs of continuing.

Buenos Aires LFG to Energy Project

The Buenos Aires LFG to Energy Project reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing landfill gas from an urban landfill site, for conversion into electricity. The site, previously a disposal centre for the city of Buenos Aires up until 2010, had housed 15 million tons of unsorted waste.

As landfill waste breaks down, landfill gasses are produced at a ratio of approximately 50% methane and 50% carbon dioxide. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), around 20 times more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. But here, using generators, methane excreted from the decomposing landfill waste converts the gas to power and heat. This project is a sustainability success story; it has provided new jobs for the workers at the site, greatly reduced GHG emissions, prevented the release of toxic compounds and odors into the atmosphere, and improved the quality of life for those living in its neighborhood. 

For more information, contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser by telephone. Travelers in North America may call toll free 1.888.892.0073 or +1.203.803.2666.