Fly “Green” to South Africa: Offset Your Plane’s CO2 Emissions


Air travel is getting more and more press these days, and for all the wrong reasons. Jet exhaust is an environmental double-whammy, because the greenhouse effects of its carbon emissions are compounded by attendant water vapour trails. Since most travel experts agree that the future holds more flying, not less, it’s clearly time for us to find ways of travelling more lightly.

The first step is to learn about the likely impact of your trip on the environment. To this end CarbonNeutral.com has created a CO2 flight emissions calculator, which gives a fairly accurate idea of the amount of carbon your flight will spew into our lovely skies – plus a fairly healthy dose of guilt!

CO2 Emissions for Popular Flights to South Africa
Criteria: two travellers, return flight, 1 stop except where noted as “direct”.

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  • London – Cape Town: 20702 kms >> 4.6 tons CO2
  • Washington, D.C. – Cape Town: 26650 kms >> 5.8 tons CO2
  • Perth – Cape Town: 27158 kms >> 6 tones CO2
  • Amsterdam – Johannesburg (direct): 18050 kms >> 4 tons CO2
  • CarbonNeutral.com emissions calculator: click here

Once you’ve got the facts, you can look at ways of offsetting the CO2 tonnage. These are, for the most, part surprisingly cheap and painless.

Simple Ways to Offset Flight Carbon Emissions

  • Shop at CarbonNeutral.com: Support its renewable energies projects across the world. For instance, a £30 – £40 donation to one of its flight offset portfolios will negate the carbon cost of the Amsterdam – Jo’burg flight.
  • Donate to a tree-planting project: Somewhat controversial, but quite en vogue. Try Greenfleet (Australia) or TreesForLife (UK) or ArborDay.org (USA).
  • Supply a project with energy-efficient lightbulbs. Not just in-the-moment energy-savers: they last longer than normal bulbs, too. (Find them online via Froogle, among other sites).

Don’t forget that, since the carbon emissions problem is global, the action you take need not be local. You don’t have to seek out a South African project to support – nor do you have to support one in your home country. To travel carbon-neutral, you just need to commit to spending a small amount of money on something green that attracts your fancy. Pretty easy.

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