Virgin America recently started offering its passengers the ability to offset the carbon emissions of their flight through the in-flight purchase of carbon credits. According to a recent press release, VA is the first domestic airline to allow its passengers to go green mid-flight—passengers opt in by swiping their credit card on the touch-screen seatback inflight entertainment system.
Virgin America obtains its offsets from CarbonFund.org, a nonprofit organization specializing in climate change education, carbon offsets and reductions, and public outreach. According to its Virgin America project page, CarbonFund.org has selected two projects for offsetting the emissions of VA’s travelers:
(1) Inland Empire Utilities Agency Biodigester: A device that captures methane emitted from decomposing manure at ten dairy farms in California (methane is a GHG with greater warming potential than CO2). The biodigesters reduce the equivalent of more than 8,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year.
(2) IdleAire, Inc.: An electric device that reduces tailpipe emissions from 18-wheelers by eliminating the need to keep the engine running for power during rest stops. The device saves a gallon of diesel per hour of operation.
An NPR story provides additional details on Virgin America’s new green initiative.