Expedia.com became the first online travel agency to offer travelers the ability to purchase carbon offsets These carbon dioxide reduction measures can used to help cancel out the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming.
Expedia is offering the service through TerraPass, the leading retailer of greenhouse gas reduction projects in the U.S.
“Expedia is dedicated to promoting responsible tourism, and we’re proud to extend environmentally conscious options to our travelers,” said Steven McArthur, President, Expedia North America Leisure Travel Group. “We are committed to making a positive impact on travel and tourism through industry advocacy, destination support and the promotion of responsible tourism. Offering TerraPass carbon offsets is just one way we invite our customers to join us in this endeavor.”
Airline travel currently accounts for about 13 percent of U.S.- transportation-based emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. To help address this, Expedia is partnering with TerraPass to make it simple for environmentally conscious travelers to be carbon-balanced travelers by purchasing a TerraPass from Expedia as part of their trip.
Expedia travelers can now pay a small fee to sponsor a measured, verified reduction in greenhouse gas emissions directly proportional to the emissions created by their plane flight. TerraPass funds domestic clean energy projects, such as wind farms, innovative “cow power” methane capture plants on American dairies, and the retirement of carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange.
“Expedia is the pioneer for responsible tourism in the travel industry, and TerraPass is a pioneer in the market for simple, affordable tools to fight climate change,” said Tom Arnold, Chief Environmental Officer, TerraPass. “One year ago Expedia formed the World Heritage Alliance in partnership with the United Nations Foundation to support sustainable tourism to World Heritage sites. We’re thrilled to join with Expedia in this latest initiative to raise awareness of simple options for environmentally friendly travel.”
“The voluntary market for greenhouse gas reductions has tremendous potential and this is an innovative initiative enabling consumers to reduce their greenhouse gas impact. It is a market we want to support and help to develop by providing certainty for consumers through our verification process,” said Lars Kvale, Center for Resource Solutions measurement and verification services analyst.
Expedia.com travelers can choose from three levels of TerraPass to purchase during the process of booking a flight or package, or as a standalone component on Expedia’s Activities page ( www.expedia.com/activities ). Prior to checkout, Expedia customers will be offered a chance to purchase a TerraPass that funds enough clean energy to balance out the CO2 emissions caused by their flights.
For example, a typical flight from New York to Los Angeles creates about 2,000 lbs. per passenger of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas. Pricing starts at $5.99 to offset about 1,000 lbs of CO2, the approximate amount per passenger emitted by a 2,200 mile round-trip flight. A TerraPass to cover cross-country and international flights is $16.99 for up to 6,500 flight miles, and $29.99 for up to 13,000 flight miles. Travelers who purchase a TerraPass for cross-country or international flights will receive a luggage tag that indicates their contribution to green travel. Travelers who purchase a TerraPass for short-haul flights will receive a decal.
Expedia has also been nominated at this year’s World Travel Awards in the category of World’s Leading Internet Site.