Bioenergy, Project Development

Responsible Tourism Takes on Renewable Energy Angle

Travelers by air who use Expedia.com can now purchase carbon offsets through TerraPass, which 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 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. Airline travel currently accounts for about 13 percent of U.S.-transportation-based emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. “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. Expedia.com travelers can choose from three levels of TerraPass to purchase during the process of booking a flight or package, or as a stand-alone component on Expedia’s Activities page. 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 CO2. 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 is offering TerraPass to its customers at cost, so all proceeds will go towards TerraPass’ greenhouse gas reduction efforts. All TerraPass sales and support of clean energy projects are independently audited by the Center for Resource Solutions, a San Francisco nonprofit that runs market surveillance and certification programs in the green power industry.