Despite aviation's role as villain of the piece on the global environmental stage, it seems there have never been more ways for concerned travellers to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from their air travel.
Two of the latest schemes on the scene come from such diverse sources as a global online travel agency and a small Welsh farm. Expedia has announced a partnership with TerraPass, a scheme through which, every time an airline passenger booking an airline ticket buys a TerraPass, their money funds renewable energy projects.
And where does the money go? TerraPass says it channels its resources to get the maximum environmental benefit from every dollar. They fund three types of leading-edge projects: clean energy such as wind and biodiesel; biomass such as dairy farm methane; and industrial efficiency.
These projects, says TerraPass, result in verified reductions in greenhouse gas pollution, thereby offsetting emissions from aircraft. There are a number of levels of carbon dioxide that can be offset, from a payment of $9.95 to offset 2,500lb (1,130kg) CO2 (about 6,000 miles or 9,700km travel) up to $1499.95, which will offset 500,000 lb (about 1 million miles, according to TerraPass). A range of free gifts are offered as an extra incentive - a traveller paying the largest donation will receive a suitably environmentally friendly folding bicycle.
At the other end of the scale, Treeflights is a recently launched scheme through which a air travellers can pay for a tree to be planted on a Welsh hillside every time they fly. This tree, in the course of its lifetime, will absorb the CO2 produced by the journey, mitigating against the environmentally destructive effects of the flight.
Travellers who donate money to plant a tree (｣10, $19, or one tree one-way and ｣20 or two trees for a return trip) can visit the plantations in Wales whenever they like to see where their money has gone. So far this is just a sapling of an idea, but if it takes root Treeflights will be branching out at three designated planting sites in Mid-Wales.