British billionaire Richard Branson, who last week announced he was dedicated $3 billion towards anti-global warming initiatives, has issued a call to the airline industry for a 25% reduction in CO2 across the board.
Branson's proposals focus in large part on efficiency improvements that include reducing aircraft idling, which can be anywhere from 60-90 minutes per flight, by using a tug to bring planes to the starting grid 10 minutes before take off. Another plan is to condense European air traffic control systems in order to optimize the use of airspace. Currently there are 35 different air traffic control organizations operating in Europe, versus just one in the US.
British Airways has come out saying that global warming is a "critical problem facing the whole industry", and endorses many of Branson's ideas. They are also already committed to a working group of 70 airlines and airport owners to address the problem, of which Branson's Virgin Atlantic is one.
Seemingly in response to Branson's call, Westjet is now offsetting the CO2 for its flights booked through its green partner, Offsetters, at no extra cost. Passengers wishing to take advantage should book their flights with Westjet by clicking the Westjet logo on the offsetters.ca page. Bookmark the site and return for all your domestic travel plans.
For those not flying Westjet, consider making your flight carbon neutral by purchasing your own carbon offset credits. The cost of offsetting a return trip from Toronto to Vancouver is just $10.97, New York to LA is $16.31, and Chicago to LA is a bargain at $9.19.