Online travel agencies Travelocity and Expedia recently launched programs to allow their traveling customers to offset travel-related emissions tied to global warming. Each is taking a slightly different approach to the idea of offsetting the carbon dioxide emitted by aircraft, rental cars and even hotel rooms. Both said they are offering the services at cost.
Travelocity is allowing customers who buy vacation packages to offset carbon emissions through a tax-deductible donation to The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit that then plants trees, which absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. The Conservation Fund said a $10 donation offsets an average trip including air travel, a one-night hotel stay and rental car for one person; $25 offsets air travel, a four-night hotel stay and rental car for two people; and $40 offsets air travel, a four-night hotel stay and a rental car for four people.
Expedia's program allows any traveler to pay a fee prior to checkout to sponsor carbon emissions reductions in line with the emissions generated from an airplane flight. The company said it is partnering with TerraPass, a program that it says will fund "domestic clean energy projects, such as wind farms, innovative 'cow power' methane capture plants on American dairies, and the retirement of carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange." Pricing starts at $5.99 to offset about 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide -- the equivalent of a single airline passenger's contribution on a 2,200-mile roundtrip flight. A $16.99 fee covers flights up to 6,500 flight miles, and $29.99 covers up to 13,000 flight miles.