Virgin Valentine offer

February 2, 2008 at 1:50 pm | Posted in Airlines, Aviation, Carbon emissions, Climate change, GHG emissions, Love is in the air!, Virgin Atlantic | 2 Comments
Virgin Atlantic Love is in the air Valentine offer

Virgin economy fares offered to me today, for a transatlantic Valentine trip, would enable me to emit a significant amount of CO2 equivalent for a bargain price—from just 239 GBP roundtrip—from London Heathrow to:

New York

  • total distance flown is 6,912 miles
  • greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to 1.54 (or 2.08) tonnes of CO2
  • cost to offset 1.54 tCO2 with Climate Care is £11.55


  • total distance flown is 7,873 miles
  • greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to 1.77 (or 2.39) tonnes of CO2
  • cost to offset 1.77 tCO2 with Climate Care is £13.24


  • total distance flown is 6,503 Miles
  • greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to 1.45 (or 1.96) tonnes of CO2
  • cost to offset 1.45 tCO2 with Climate Care is £10.85

Washington DC

  • total distance flown is 7,325 Miles
  • greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to 1.64 (or 2.21) tonnes of CO2
  • cost to offset 1.64 tCO2 with Climate Care is £12.27

Emissions estimates in black are from Climate Care, using a factor of 2 for radiative forcing index (RFI). The IPCC recommends an RFI of 2.7 for aviation emissions, so I would bump Climate Care CO2 estimates up to the red numbers to be more reasonable. (Update: I have used Climate Care to offset my family’s flights in the past, and chose to look these up independently, realising I am in the tiniest minority group, less than 1%, of customers who show any interest in carbon offsets and actually do more than investigate options. Voluntary extra spend for no obvious benefit does not work when rapid change is necessary: offsets should be compulsory, incorporated into the price of tickets, as taxes, fees and duties are.)

Anyway, if you read this you will see Why it’s harder than you think to pay for a carbon guilt trip!

Interestingly, Patrick Wintour, political editor of The Guardian, wrote on 5 January 2007 (yes, a year ago) Labour targets airlines over carbon emissions:

The EU has estimated that a passenger flying from London to New York and back generates roughly the same level of emissions as the average person in the EU does by heating their home for a year.


I have not heard much about Labour targetting airlines over carbon emissions in the context of ‘Adding capacity to Heathrow airport‘. Hmmm …

No, Darling, I am not going to blow my carbon budget on this offer 😉

I am a weakish speller<<< P.S. for Horatio Algeranon



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  1. To emit, or not to emit: that is the question.

  2. Brilliant!
    Thanks for posing the question. The answer is NOT to emit.
    Unfortunately, it is easier to emit, than not to. In some circles, it takes a great deal of courage to stand your ground against present-day tempters (like Virgin) who will get nowhere with me … but I know tonnes of local ladies who are tempted by ‘bargains’ and ‘special offers’, and off they go – – – shopping in New York for the weekend. Aaargh!
    BTW, William Shakespeare is an anagram of ‘I am a weakish speller’. I just added a thumbnail of the cartoon (from EducationGuardian if I remember correctly) to prove it. Sort of.
    Lastly, I have to tell you that I once received a comment from The Bard himself (!), criticising my use of “The quality of mercy is not strained” and then advertising his latest book. Ahem. So I am very pleased to have your contribution. I do hope you will publish your own poetry book one day 😉

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