Global environmental challenges
Travel agent scraps “medieval pardons” for emissions
responsibletravel.com said it was dropping carbon offsets from its website, bucking an industry trend of recent years.
Ever more airlines and travel groups offer customers the option of paying a bit more to plant trees in Africa, for instance, or to help build a wind farm in India to soak up greenhouse gases equal to those emitted by their vacations.
“We believe that the travel industry’s priority must be to reduce carbon emissions, rather than to offset,” said Justin Francis, managing director of the British-based firm.
The company said: “In 2002 we were the first travel agent to offer carbon offsetting, in 2009 we believe we are one of the first to stop offering offsets to customers.”
The firm said it agreed with environmental group Friends of the Earth that offsets were a “dangerous distraction”. “Ultimately we need to reduce our carbon emissions. We can do this by flying less – travelling by train or taking holidays closer to home for example, and by making carbon reductions in other areas of our lifestyles too, alongside travel,” it said.
Criticising travel — rather than selling letting people buy indulgences for a high-carbon lifestyle — sounds like shooting yourself in the foot if you are selling holidays.
Or is this a smart decision?