Travel: Green Channel

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The Independent Online
Is it possible for travel to aid global cooling? Those ever-positive Americans have come up with a scheme that guarantees "guilt-free travel".

Agents and tour operators involved in the Global Cooling Trees for Travel scheme give customers certificates which confirm that seven trees have been planted for each traveller.

The logic is that a jet emits about 11 ounces of carbon dioxide for each passenger mile it flies, so over a 7,000-mile round trip from London to New York, every person on board will be responsible for about 5,000 pounds (more than two tons) of carbon dioxide. As a tree absorbs 50 pounds of the gas in a year, planting 10 trees will offset the carbon dioxide created during the flight over the course of 10 years.

Brits interested in the idea should link up with a tree-planting scheme in the UK, such as Woodlands Trust, which has a "Plant a Tree for Cleaner Air" programme. You can work out how many you need to plant by following Trees for Travel's rough guidelines. They suggest planting at least one tree for every 4,000 miles travelled by plane. That tree offsets the carbon dioxide emitted by the aircraft, while two more trees would compensate for the greenhouse effect caused by the nitrogen oxide and water-vapour emissions.

Plant one tree for every 2,000 miles travelled by car, one for every 3,700 miles by train, another for every four days spent on a cruise ship and one for every 10,000 miles travelled by bus. Jet-skiers should plant a tree after every 50th hour.

If we all follow this advice we might cool the planet, but Trees for Travel doesn't mention whether we'd have any land left.

Trees for Travel web-site: www.treadlightly.com; Woodlands Trust 0800 026 9650.

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