Can carbon offsets help fund local climate mitigation measures in agriculture, or is this just a high-flying idea? Ruralis arranged a workshop on this topic during the annual aviation conference in Bodø – January 28-29.

Sustainable aviation was the main theme during this year’s aviation conference. Through the research project Coolcrowd, Ruralis organized the workshop “Carbon offsets in aviation open for local opportunities”.

– Coolcrowd links crowdfunding to the climate and considers whether compensation for travel related GHG emissions can finance climate mitigation measures in agriculture. The conference and workshop are a great opportunity to get inputs from aviation, says project manager Pia Piroschka Otte from Ruralis.

Crowdfunding is an alternative way of financing, where several people come together to raise money in support of a common purpose. It is often used by entrepreneurs who lack the equity to start something new.

Creates a personal connection to carbon offsets

When we travel by air today, we have the opportunity to compensate for our own emissions by paying for carbon offsets. But this money often goes to projects further afield, where we do not have a personal connection. Coolcrowd explores the possibility of creating this personal connection by funding projects that are more visible and relevant to people’s everyday lives.

– A system that makes it possible to compensate for its own transport-related emissions, by paying carbon offsets  to a local farmer in your own neighborhood, can both contribute to local food security and the development of climate-smart agriculture. It can also increase the motivation to invest in carbon offsets, says Piroschka Otte.

The idea is to finance climate-friendly technologies on local farms. Biogas, biochar and solar panels are examples of climate mitigation measures that are relevant to agriculture, and the common denominator is that it costs a lot to invest in these measures.

Need user-friendly solutions

Developing such a concept is only possible if the project collaborates with the industry/business sector to create user-friendly solutions. Therefore, potential users are closely involved with Coolcrowd throughout the project period. During the aviation conference, Cooclrowd presented some potential scenarios for local crowdfunding in aviation, together with its local transport partner TrønderTaxi.

– The hope was to get good constructive feedback in order to be able to develop the project further, and we are excited about the opportunities that emerged during the conference, says Pia Piroschka Otte.

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