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Published on Friday, November 24, 2006 to offer emissions offset option

Customers using are to be given the option to offset carbon dioxide emissions from flights.

The online retailer claims to have become the first major travel company to make CO2 offsetting an integral part of buying a flight in a Government-backed initiative.

Payments will be invested in sustainable energy projects to reduce the damage done to the environment in a partnership with Climate Care, an organisation which tackles global warming.

The offset cost ranges between 50p and 90p per hour of flying time. To offset a return flight from London to Amsterdam costs 75p, to offset a return flight from London to Munich costs £1.55 and to offset a return flight from London to Paris costs 76p over and above the ticket price.

The CO2 emissions from each passenger"s flight and the cost to offset will be displayed alongside the ticket price from Monday. Consumers will be asked whether they want to offset at the point of payment. The option to offset will be available on all flights operated by 300 airlines.

When customers book a flight, a carbon calculator automatically calculates the CO2 emissions of that flight and the cost to offset, which is displayed.

Via Climate Care, the money will go towards reducing CO2 emissions though a range of sustainable energy projects, such as ecostoves in Nicaragua or biofuel made from kitchen oil in the Bahamas.

Transport minister Gillian Merron, welcoming the initiative, said:  "Tackling climate change is not just a job for governments and big business, it is a challenge faced by every one of us.

"Many people who fly want clear information on how they can do their bit to tackle climate change and is providing just that. This is an exciting and groundbreaking initiative and I hope that others will follow". chief executive Ian McCaig said:  "With hundreds of airline partners offering thousands of flights, our initiative marks one of the biggest leaps for the industry.

"As the first major travel company to take this action, is urging others in the industry to follow suit in a bid to reduce the impact of aviation emissions and play an active part in combating climate change.

McCaig added: "Just one passenger on a return flight from London to New York generates 1.5 tonnes of CO2 - which is equivalent to boiling a kettle non-stop for two months or leaving on a flat-screen TV non-stop for three years, or running the car 24 hours-a-day for four weeks.

"Most people know that things they do every day can consume or waste large amounts of energy - like leaving lights switched on or leaving appliances on stand-by. wants to take that further and help consumers to bridge the gap in understanding the impacts of travel and flying in particular on our environment. So we see this as an opportunity not only to give our customers the chance to have an active, positive role, but also to arm them with the facts they need to make their decisions.

"It"s an upfront approach but one which underlines our commitment to the cause, and we are confident that customers will feel that they want to make a difference."

Climate Care founder Mike Mason said: "I am delighted that has taken such a pioneering and responsible approach to climate change. They are not only offering customers the chance to offset their emissions but they are also taking a real lead in educating customers and making them look actively at their choices. Without such education we have no chance of winning in the war against a climate catastrophe."

As part of a wider green initiative is also offsetting all staff air travel for business trips and offsetting its office energy. An internal campaign is also underway to reduce the company"s energy bill and the unnecessary carbon it creates.

Report by Phil Davies

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  • Good to see

    It's good to see high profile companies like taking steps like this, I just hope that customers sign up to it. We are about to re-launch with a carbon offset option provided by the Carbon Consultancy. I hope more travel companies do the same.

    By Gary Phillips, Friday, November 24, 2006

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