100 holiday ideas for 2010: Green
Sunday 03 January 2010
Are carbon offsets effective? Not particularly, according to responsibletravel.com, which ditched them last year and now offers a carbon comparison flight search as an alternative. "By offering a comparative lower carbon flight search, based on the carbon efficiency of different airlines, we are able to offer a practical guide to relative carbon travel," says company founder, Justin Francis.
Luxury accommodation in Cornwall turns a deeper shade of green with the opening of new residences by Natural Retreats (naturalretreats .com) at Trewhiddle, near St Austell. The complex of three- and four-bed apartments feature the company's trademark green components.
The airline industry is keen to ditch its "bad guy" image over climate change and several airlines are implementing what they call "green flights". These involve fuel-efficiency measures to cut kerosene use, such as taxiing on one engine, taking off with steeper ascents, and descending with the engines idle. Scandinavian airline SAS (flysas.com) is among the front runners. It says tests show a cut in fuel use of 22 per cent is possible.
It's not only airlines that are trying to cut fuel use. Land at Helsinki airport in 2010 and you'll see your luggage trundling along on an energy-efficient carousel, and Frankfurt airport is moving to fuel-cell vehicles. Meanwhile, Stockholm-Arlanda airport faces a Swedish legal requirement to be carbon neutral by 2012.
In the wake of the Copenhagen climate talks, 2010 is likely to see even more volunteering holidays targeted at mitigating climate change. A new trip launched by the Earthwatch Institute (earthwatch.org) looks at how climate change impacts on the Chesapeake Bay forests on the Atlantic coastline of the US.
Just launched, an 180mph high-speed train link between Brussels and the Netherlands has cut journey times to Dutch cities by one hour on average. Amsterdam is now barely four hours by train from the UK, and one hour 53 minutes from Brussels (holland.com/uk/gettingthere/train).
We've achieved the ticketless flight, now boarding passes are going to be replaced in parts of Scandinavia by a biometric fingerprint check-in. SAS has developed a scheme whereby passengers only need to show their finger to board the aircraft – though the company says the fingerprints are never stored. Also, keep your phone switched on until you board: airlines are significantly using mobile phones to keep passengers up to date with delays and schedule changes.
China's high-speed train network continues apace, with plans to build 42 high-speed passenger rail lines with a total length of 8,000 miles over the next three years, and 2010 will see a new 240-mile line linking Chongqing and Wanzhou.
If you're looking for a B&B that is striving to be as green as possible and fancy learning a rural craft too, visit the off-grid Slackhouse Farm (slackhousefarm.com) in Ireshopeburn, Weardale, west of Durham. This farm B&B runs on solar and wind power and the owners offer eco-workshops.
The International Air Transport Association (iata.co.uk) says that it expects to approve a biofuel for use in commercial flights in 2010. However, finding a biofuel that could scale up to meet aviation's huge appetite will be difficult. Yet a consortium including Boeing, Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand looks as if it may just get there first.
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