Traveling this summer? Airline offers way to offset impact

The purchase of certified carbon offsets protects forests and benefits local communities, including the Alto Mayo Protected Forest in Peru, pictured above. (© Conservation International/photo by Bailey Evans)

The purchase of certified carbon offsets protects forests and benefits local communities, including the Alto Mayo Protected Forest in Peru, pictured above. (© Conservation International/photo by Bailey Evans)

As millions of people gear up for summer plane travel, how many are choosing to offset the carbon dioxide produced from their flights?

According to new research, not many.

Less than half of the world’s major airlines give passengers the opportunity to offset their air travel emissions, the BBC found. And when airlines do offer the option, people aren’t taking them up on it, with fewer than 1 percent of passengers choosing to pay more.

With more than 4 billion people boarding an airplane every year, those emissions add up.

The solution does not have to be to stop traveling. The airline industry is working to cut emissions across the sector, and one carrier is making it easier than ever to calculate and offset the carbon emissions of your flight.

Using the new flight carbon calculator developed with Conservation International, a United Airlines passenger taking a round-trip flight from New York to Los Angeles, for example, could offset their trip for around US$ 7.50. That money goes directly to community-driven forest restoration projects, which help mitigate climate change (tropical forests alone can account for at least 30 percent of the emissions reductions needed to prevent climate catastrophe).

Calculate your total carbon footprint — and offset your emissions — here.