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October 18th, 2019

INSTAAR buys carbon offsets for its researchers’ flights

Interim Director Gifford Miller, with the concurrence of INSTAAR’s Executive Committee, has authorized INSTAAR to counteract the carbon footprint of its researchers’ business flights by paying into CU Boulder’s carbon offset plan.

Once each calendar year, the INSTAAR chief financial officer will aggregate all commercial domestic and international flights booked through the university’s travel system, and use discretionary funds to pay for carbon offsets for those flights.

“It seemed like the obvious thing to do,” says Miller.

The action comes amid a conversation within the larger climate science community about flying and emissions. Researchers see an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, even as their profession requires carbon-intensive flights to remote field locations and scientific conferences.

INSTAAR will buy its carbon offset through a CU Environmental Center program set up to compile purchases from across the university. The Environmental Center periodically evaluates carbon offset vendors ensure high-quality, third-party certified offsets that are paired with social equity benefits and educational potential. The current vendor is Native Energy, which is applying CU offsets toward an innovative landfill methane recovery project that could not be built without carbon offset funds.

The first contribution, spanning flights from the past twelve months, has just been made.