This weekend saw Australian non-profit organisation CarbonBack Foundation achieve Australia’s first general aviation 100% carbon-offset flight. The CarbonBack Foundation flew from Melbourne to Narromine in outback NSW to highlight the need for greater state and federal government action to support rural communities experiencing drought and long-term climate change.
The foundation has funded as its first project via the creation of both Apple and Google Android apps that allow anyone at any fuel bowser to get a quote to offset all or part of their car, boat, truck, tractor, plane or other oil-based vehicle engine fuel purchase.
Mr Heiberg co-piloted an AvPlan EFB Cirrus SR22 aircraft that departed Melbourne’s Moorabbin Airport at 12:30pm touching down at Narromine NSW at 3.45pm. The Carbonback Foundation flight proved that any pilot of an aircraft can offset its carbon emissions and have a goal to be totally carbon neutral.
CarbonBack Foundation Co-Founder and CEO Darren Heiberg was greeted on arrival at Narromine by locals who thanked him in bringing attention to local drought issues. Many locals were concerned that the Federal government $1billion drought assistance package had not yet materialised locally in Narromine in terms of government funded projects or support.
The flight, which used around 139 litres of aviation fuel, produced 303kg of airborne carbon dioxide. This carbon emission was entirely offset through the CarbonBack Foundation’s purchase of 100% government-certified carbon credits issued by a nearby Cobar NSW farming community scheme to revegetate kilometres of the barren local riverbank. Full 100% carbon-offset of the flight’s 139 litre fuel burn by buying government approved carbon-offset credits from the Cobar NSW carbon-offset revegetation scheme cost only $7.46. Any purchased carbon offset credit funds take only a few days to reach the rural farming community schemes bank accounts for distribution to farmers. Details of the scheme are on the Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator website.
Mr Heiberg called for the fastest possible delivery of on-the-ground drought assistance for rural Queensland and NSW farmers who had been hoping for spring rain that had not arrived.
Mr Heiberg stated: “Any assistance be that Australians can provide to urgently support our drought affected farmers and rural communities will be deeply welcomed. Support doesn’t always have to be cash handouts. Farmers can be assisted by all Australian’s carbon-offsetting their fuel purchase via the zero commision CarbonBack Foundation App. People can put the carbon in their fuel purchase back into new vegetation carbon-offset funding whenever they fill up their vehicle fuel tanks. It only cost a few gold coins!
“Farmers also need activities in the hottest part of the day when they are not out on the land to distract them from ruminating on the ongoing challenge facing their families and support good mental health. An example would be where The Sport Aircraft Association of Australia has started a free scheme to take pilots on property inspection flights from their local rural airports during these hours. With a little focus, we can all find meaningful ways to support some of our hardest working Australians.”
The CarbonBack Foundation was created at the request of the teenage daughters Lauren Heiberg and Eloise Kelly of CarbonBack Foundation’s Co-Founders Mr. Darren Heiberg and Dr. Darren Kelly, entrepreneur / biotechnology CEO, in response to their teenagers asking them to do more to help with addressing climate change. Mr Heiberg (a technology consultant) and Dr Kelly (a medical kidney specialist) declared “social and environmental responsibility are both important to ensure our children have a bright future and healthy planet to grow up in. Offsetting carbon fuel emissions buys time for scientists and engineers to bring cleaner transport technologies to market and is only a small cost impost and free choice to opt in for those who are better off and can afford it within their limited daily means.
“‘Carbonbacking is where a ‘CarbonBacker’ opt-in customer of the CarbonBack Foundation’s carbon-offset quote and purchasing app buys government certified carbon-offset for their carbon generating activity at the lowest possible cost. We are choosing to direct these credits to drought-affected farmer-backed schemes at this time given the urgent financial need of farmers in that area of Australia.”
feature image: Carbonback CEO Darren Heiberg with AvPlan EFB’s Evan Schoo and Edgar Olyerhoek