Carbon Offsets? No Thanks, Say Surveyed Fliers

Sal holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.
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How many of these passengers bought carbon offsets? (Photo: Cheryl Ravelo / Reuters)

Two weeks after TakePart's in-depth look into the aviation industry's topsy-turvy relationship with climate change comes this nugget—only 7 percent of fliers are purchasing carbon offsets when offered.

The Guardian reports that even though 56 percent of passengers surveyed at London's Stansted Airport knew what carbon offsetting was, 93 percent of them did not set aside any funds for green energy.

According to The Guardian:

Asked if they had taken fewer flights over the previous year on environmental grounds, only 9% of those asked said yes. Most of this 9% took one or two fewer flights. When asked if their choice of airline had been affected by how environmentally friendly they were, only 3% replied in the affirmative.

In 2005, British Airways was the first airline to introduce a carbon offset program—whereby passengers can compensate for their flight’s greenhouse gas emissions by financing the planting of trees or renewable energy projects.

At first, the concept seemed like a way for eco-conscious fliers to have their cake and fly from town to town with it too.

But then the investigations rolled in.

First from The Guardian, later from the Christian Science Monitor.

Both searches arrived at the same general result—carbon offsets may lessen eco-guilt, but not global warming.

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