Egyptian first to climb world summits using ‘carbon neutral’ practices

Omar Samra, the first Egyptian to climb Mount Everest in 2007, is one step away from achieving his "7 Summits Challenge” of climbing the highest peak on each of the seven continents.  

Last January Samra successfully climbed the sixth of these seven peaks by reaching the top of Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica.

In 2008, he conquered the 5,985 meter Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania alongside the 5,642 meter high Mount Elbrus in Russia; in April 2009 he climbed 4,884 meters to reach the top of Indonesia’s Carstensz Pyramid, then in January 2010 Samra climbed the 6,962 meter high Aconcagua, which is the highest peak in South America. His coming plan entails climbing Alaska’s Mount McKinley, hopefully later in 2012 once his sponsorships are settled.

Once these seven peaks are conquered, in addition to skiing to the north and south poles, Samra would complete what is known as the "Grand Slam" and with that join an elite group — thought to be 20 to 25 people — who have managed to achieve this feat.

But there is something that distinguishes Samra from any other climber who has embarked on the “7 Summits Challenge” and that is the fact that all his hikes have been carbon neutral.

Speaking to Egypt Independent, Samra explained how he did this.

 “What we do is calculate the carbon emissions resulting from the expedition itself, which include flights, power consumed, transport and accommodation and this gives us the total amount of CO2 emissions,” he said. “Then we offset these by buying an equivalent amount of carbon credits from the market; these credits are then retired which means they are taken off the market and a certificate is issued to certify that the expedition was carbon neutral.”

The carbon credits he buys are all generated through green projects worldwide, he said. The importance of this, Samra maintains, is that continual consumption of carbon credits will raise demand for carbon credits, thus raising profits for those who sell them. This, he said, will hopefully create an incentive for more green projects to come on-board.

Samra’s partner in carbon offsetting, the Dubai-headquartered carbon trading and environmental consultancy firm “Advanced Global Trading” has given him the carbon credits needed for his climbs.

For him, the environmental message behind his missions is of urgent importance. As a climber, Samra said he has seen firsthand the effects of global warming created by C02 emissions.  This drove him to send a environmental message while achieving the “7 Summit Challenge.”

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