Critics say carbon offsets aid travelers' conscience, not environment

11/18/2009 | NYTimes.com

Responsible Travel, a pioneer in offering carbon offsets to airline passengers looking to reduce their environmental footprint, has exited that business, arguing that the offsets are not having their intended effect. "The carbon offset has become this magic pill, a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card," says the company's managing director. Some experts have claimed that the true cost of offsetting the carbon from a New York to London flight would be as much as $300, much more than the price set by airline programs. Airlines, however, argue that offsets are a step in the right direction while the industry explores technologies capable of drastically reducing carbon emissions.

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