Green scene

Company tries to offset carbon footprint of Israeli COP27 delegates

Through online questionnaire, Terrra will work out, and offer way to offset, emissions in bid to raise awareness among 1,000-plus Israeli contingent at UN confab in Egypt

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

The former fishpond at Kfar Ruppin in northern Israel that is undergoing rewilding. (Omri salner, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel)
The former fishpond at Kfar Ruppin in northern Israel that is undergoing rewilding. (Omri salner, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel)

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — An Israeli company that specializes in removing global warming gases from the atmosphere and generating carbon credits is offering to calculate the carbon footprint of each Israeli attending the UN COP27 climate conference in Egypt, and offer a way to offset trip-related emissions.

Terrra, a company of sustainability entrepreneurs, sees wetland rehabilitation as an attractive business and environmental opportunity as well as a source of remuneration for the country’s kibbutzim.

Wetlands remove and store large amounts of carbon dioxide. This makes them an ideal source of carbon credits, which can be sold to companies that need to offset emissions to meet certain green standards.

Aiming to create the first nature-based, carbon removal credit project in Israel that meets international standards, Terrra is partnering with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel to “rewild” a disused fish pond in Kfar Ruppin, a kibbutz in the northern Jordan Valley, and to use the rehabilitated wetland as a source for generating carbon credit cash.

It now has five such rewilding projects in the works, and hopes to rehabilitate 5,000 dunams (more than 1,200 acres) of former fish ponds countrywide and to use them as a laboratory for rewilding, testing and collecting data.

An estimated 1,000-plus Israelis have converged on the COP confab in Sharm el-Sheikh, and Terrra co-founders Nachi Brodt and Yuval Lavi said they saw in this an opportunity to raise awareness about carbon footprints. They hope that attendees at next year’s COP28 in Abu Dhabi will take their emissions into account.

They are inviting people to fill out questionnaires that ask about means of transportation, number of passengers if they came by car, length of stay, type of accommodation, and whether their food was vegetarian or not (meat production causes significant emissions).

Nachi Brodt (left) and Yuval Lavi at the SDG pavilion of the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 11, 2022. (Sue Surkes/Times of Israel)

For each form submitted, Terrra will calculate the approximate carbon emissions and offer to offset them via carbon credits generated by the rewilding of the Kfar Ruppin pond.

A person who came for five days, traveled with others by car, stayed with others in Airbnb accommodation and ate vegetarian food can expect to have emitted around 200 kilograms of global warming gases, valued at $20, Brodt estimated. People who flew, ate meat, and stayed in a luxury hotel will have a carbon footprint closer to 600 kilograms, costing $60.

Brodt noted that the carbon absorption at the Kfar Ruppin pond met several of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the world has agreed (but is highly unlikely) to meet by 2030: ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all; climate action; and life on land.

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