Did you know that air travel accounts for over 80 per cent of the Super Bowl’s direct emissions?

To help mitigate the environmental impact of this year’s big game Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is partnering with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and The Good Traveler and making this year’s Super Bowl the first in which carbon emissions from fans’ air travel will be offset.

The joint project will offset fans' air travel by 18,000 metric tons of carbon emissions – the equivalent to 1,624 air miles offset for each of the 71,000 fans.

Carbon offsets neutralise the impact of the use of fossil fuels – such as air travel or road travel – by keeping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and presently are the only option (and an easy one) for air travelers to mitigate the CO2 impact of their flights.

 “Reducing and offsetting emissions is an on-going priority for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The Airport has offset over 60,000 tons since 2017”, explains Michael Cheyne, Director of Asset Management and Sustainability at ATL.” We are excited about our partnerships with SB53 and Rocky Mountain Institute managed The Good Traveler Program. Our hope is that future Super Bowls and other major events will build on and exceed our commitment to resiliency.”

The fans’ carbon offsets will come from projects that make good use of waste, reduce greenhouse gases, and support the local community. Offsets will be going to projects in Georgia – Dalton-Whitfield and Wolfcreek landfill –that reduce carbon pollution and provide a reliable source of renewable energy to local industry (providing enough power for 1500 homes).

For the foreseeable future, the aviation industry will rely on support from passengers, cities, and business to become sustainable through carbon offsets. The industry’s carbon emissions in the US grew at three per cent last year and global aviation emissions have been growing at about five per cent annually over the last four years. Without intervention, aviation could comprise over 20 per cent of the global carbon budget by mid-century.

“Hartsfield-Jackson and the City of Atlanta have raised the climate leadership bar for professional sports championships,” said Adam Klauber, Principal, Rocky Mountain Institute. “Bold actions from airports can help us avoid relying solely on a desperate Hail Mary-pass to keep our planet below 2°C of warming.”

The Good Traveler programme, is managed by RMI and is the only airport-founded and aviation-focused carbon offset program that empowers airports, organisations, cities, and individuals to mitigate the climate impact of travel.