Today in cleantech: Hopper, GHGSat

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Recently, two Canadian startups have announced new initiatives intended to help improve the environment and promote ecological sustainability. Here’s the latest on cleantech in Canada.

Hopper to plant trees with every booking

Montréal-based travel app Hopper has committed to planting trees with every booking on its platform, as part of its new carbon offset program. The startup plans to commit funds to plant four trees per flight sold and two trees per hotel room.

“As Hopper grows, so too does our impact on the world around us.”

Hopper will donate trees directly to its partner, Eden Reforestation Projects, which has reportedly planted over 250 million trees around the world since 2004. Hopper expects to see at least six million trees planted in 2020 from the flights and hotels booked on the platform.

“As Hopper grows, so too does our impact on the world around us,” Frederic Lalonde, CEO and co-founder of Hopper, said in a company blog post, adding that as global travel increasing becomes a part of everyday life, the environment feels the impact.

According to a 2018 study published in Nature Climate Change, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, tourism accounts for around eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The same report found that air travel was the biggest contributor.

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“Already we are seeing partner airlines and hotels take steps toward addressing this challenge, and as the leading app-based marketplace for travel, we too must do our part in mitigating that impact,” said Lalonde. “Hopper Trees is our first measurable step in that direction.”

This news comes several months after Shopify co-founder and CEO Tobi Lütke pledged to donate 1,000,001 trees, as part of a broader climate change campaign that also garnered attention and donation from the likes of Elon Musk.

GHGSat to provide free visualization of greenhouse gas emissions

Global emissions monitoring company, GHGSat, is set to launch a new service for visualizing greenhouse gas emissions. The online tool will be freely available beginning in November.

“We decided to make this core capability openly available to accelerate the impact of our measurements.”

The tool will allow users to zoom into a grid that can be placed anywhere on land, in order to identify geographic patterns and hotspots of methane gas. The images will be updated with new data on a rolling basis. The free visualization will integrate data from GHGSat’s own satellites, the Copernicus Sentinel satellites, as well as other current and future atmospheric monitoring missions.

“We decided to make this core capability openly available to accelerate the impact of our measurements,” said GHGSat president and CEO Stephane Germain. “We plan to launch during [the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference] to highlight the importance of combining the best of all satellite capabilities to help solve the real-world challenges of this decade.”

Montréal-based GHGSat uses satellites and aircraft sensors to offer monitoring services for industrial facilities in oil and gas, power generation, mining, waste management, and agriculture sectors, to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sine launched in 2016, GHGSat’s first satellite, named Claire, has taken thousands of measurements using algorithms that take in both its own data as well as third-party data. The area measured covers over a million square kilometres of the Earth’s surface and has identified methane leaks which operators were then able to address. The company plans to launch two more satellites and an aircraft sensor this year.

Image courtesy Unsplash. Photo by Gustav Gullstrand.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast