Carbon caution & advice: Flying & the responsible traveller

1. Flying = one of the fastest growing sources of CO2

Plane wing Responsible tourism overseas helps sustain livelihoods, support local communities and conserve the world's natural and cultural heritage. In many developing countries responsible tourism is a powerful tool in poverty reduction. We are passionate advocates of all these benefits of responsible overseas tourism and yet we must acknowledge that flying contributes to climate change. In fact, climate change poses a severe threat to those things that responsible travellers hold most dear - local communities and environments around the world.

Did you know? One long haul return flight can produce more carbon dioxide per passenger than the average UK motorist in one year. (1)
2. Say 'NO' to carbon offsetting and 'YES' to carbon reduction.

Wind turbines In 2002 we were the first travel agent to offer carbon offsetting, in 2009 we believe were one of the first to stop offering offsets to customers.

Why? We believe that offsetting distracts from the real issues - that is we all need to be reducing our carbon emissions as much as possible. Offsetting flights has too often been seen as an opportunity to go on flying the same amount or more.
3. Fly LESS

4. Make LIFESTYLE changes

Calculate your carbon footprint with Friends of the Earth's carbon calcuator.

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5. When we do fly, MAKE IT COUNT

Find a responsible holiday Choose a responsible holiday that makes a real difference in the destination - those that seek to reduce CO2 impacts, support local community programs and community development.

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Our position sparks global debate
On 15 October 2009 we announced the removal of carbon offsetting from Responsible Travel

Our decision to remove carbon offsetting sparked a significant international debate, starting with Justin’s piece in The Guardian Environment online, and a piece written by Charles Starmer-Smith in The Telegraph online on the 16 October.

On 20 October Justin discussed carbon offsets on the ‘As it happens’ programme on CBC Radio and on 6 November with BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ programme.

On 7 November our views on carbon offsetting were featured in a full page article on page 2 of The Independent, and were endorsed in a piece by Simon Calder.   Just 10 days later Elisabeth Rosenthal kicked off the debate in the US with a with a substantial piece in the New York Times on 17 November.

Since then Justin has been interviewed by CNN, BBC News and on several US radio shows.

Further reading
  • Friends of the Earth - Offsetting: A Dangerous Distraction, June 2009

    (1) Netherlands Centre for Energy Conservation and Environmental Technology/DETR
  • Written by Justin Francis
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