Low Carbon Air Travel Pilot
Priority Project of the Sustainable Cornell Council
The Low Carbon Air Travel Working Group has been charged by the Sustainable Cornell Council with recommending solutions for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from business air travel, and create a pilot program for individuals and departments to test strategies for reduction, avoidance, or offsetting air travel emissions.
Participate in a 10-minute survey about your business air travel
- Survey responses will be confidential
- Eligibility to win one of two $75 Amazon gift-cards!
Indicate your business air travel before and during COVID19 and the factors and people who motivate your choices to travel! Travel and sustainability are key components of Cornell's vision for a better future. If Cornell is to accomplish its goal of carbon neutrality, then we need the unique insights of the Cornell community to paint a picture of sustainable paths forward without sacrificing the mission and values of our institution.
Questions? Reach out to Amelia-Juliette Demery, M.S., at email@example.com.
Pilot Program Details
The Low Carbon Air Travel Working Group has developed a pilot program to assess the patterns of business air travel throughout the Cornell community. Departments, teams, or individuals can participate. Your role as a pilot participant is to examine possible strategies for reducing your carbon emissions from air travel through a combination of three techniques:
Choose remote participation instead of travel, or reduce the number of trips per year
Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Travel
Choose a more direct air-travel flight, or replace air travel with bus, carpool, or train
For air travel that does take place, purchase carbon offsets which reduce carbon by providing energy efficiency upgrades in low-income households in our community via our recommended partner, below.
As a pilot participant, you are not committing to implementing any specific actions. Rather, pilot participants are encouraged to test out the ideas and recommendations provided by the working
Guidance on Offsets
Purchasing offsets to account for air travel emissions is an optional part of the pilot program. Cornell is partnering with the Finger Lakes Climate Fund to provide a climate-justice approach to local offsets with benefits in our community.
The Fund uses money from carbon-offsetters to implement implements energy efficiency improvements for low-income families in Tompkins County and across our region, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our commuity. This climate-justice approach meets Cornell's criteria for pursuing "mission-linked offsets" - keeping dollars and carbon reduction in our community, helping to meet local and state emissions reduction targets while making homes more comfortable and affordable for people in our community.
The fund provides an easy calculator to assess the offsets your air travel will require.
The cost per MTCO2e offset is approximately $20-30, far less than traditional market offsets, where longevity, additional, and real impact can be difficult to verify.
If you choose to offset your air travel, be sure to indicate your affiliation with Cornell University so we can track the impact of our program:
How to Participate in the Pilot
Additional support provided by:
Amelia-Juliette Demery, PhD Candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Marianne Krasny, Professor, Natural Resources and the Environment
In 2019, Cornell business air travel accounted for about 12% of Cornell’s annual carbon footprint, or over 25,000 metric tons of CO2e, equivalent to the annual energy use of 3,800 U.S. homes.
Air travel is one of the only areas of our campus carbon footprint that has reduced since setting our goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. Reducing the carbon density of air travel will be necessary to meet Cornell's goal.