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Air Travel: Paying Your Dues

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Having just flown back from a week in Biarritz, I was feeling a bit guilty about my greenhouse gas emissions – it would have been technically possible to take the train, but at more than 10 hours the journey seemed just a bit too long to be practical.

Personal political reminded me that I meant to do something about it, in donating to a project enough to cover the emission from my flight. She took me, indirectly, to Climate Care, where I was a little surprised to find only £5 (US$9) would cancel out the guilt.

I sit at my desk now, looking out on a blue autumn sky with puffy clouds, which are being dodged by the planes swinging around on final approach to Heathrow, disappearing behind the Euston Tower. If everyone on each of those paid in full for their flight, it wouldn’t end global warming, but it would certainly help to make a difference.

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About Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.
  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Natalie, I admit I’m a bit surprised to find you advocate the concept of purchasing environmental “credits,” albeit by giving the money to a charity.

    If the “full cost” were part of the airfare in the first place, mandated for the airline to remit to some remediation agency (perhaps to Climate Care, among others), it would make more sense.

    Then your donation to them would do more than just cancel your guilty emissions…

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    I agree entirely, “paid in full” should be compulsory, not voluntary. But in the meantime, doing your bit by personal choice is better than nothing.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    For profit environmental companies are doing swift business these days. I profiled TerraPass back in March, a company that helps people pay off the emissions from automobile usage. Little economy cars have different rates than for hulking SUVs!

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    Well done Eric. I’d prefer to see the money go to charities – the one to which I point is teaching people in the Third World to use fuel-efficient, low-polluting stoves, as one example of its work, but anything that does something to repair the damage can only be a good thing. And if it helps to drive home the real cost of urban SUVs and other such ridiculous vehicles, so much the better.