(Jul 16, 2007)

Dutch airline passengers don't warm to global warming program

From AP

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP) - Passengers at the Netherlands' largest regional airport have so far failed to warm to a program intended to help tackle climate change.

Only 530 people a month - 0.5 percent of all passengers - took advantage of a project at Eindhoven Airport that allowed passengers to make a voluntary payment toward projects aimed at offsetting carbon emissions from their flights, the airport announced Monday.

''To be honest, we had hoped at the start of the project that it would be more,'' said Joost Meijs, the airport's commercial director.

Research carried out before the project began in April suggested the number of people prepared to pay for their carbon emissions would be higher.

A study by Amsterdam's Free University indicated that 75 percent of passengers were willing to pay extra if they knew the money would go directly to environmental projects, the airport said when it launched the program.

''Of course, if you fill out a research form, that is something different than actually putting your money where your mouth is,'' Meijs said. ''There is a gap between intention and realization.''

Under the system _ the first at a Dutch airport _ passengers can use special terminals to enter their destination. The software works out how much carbon the flight will pump into the atmosphere and how much a passenger needs to pay to offset his or her share.

The passenger can then pay the extra money and the funds are invested in carbon reduction projects around the world.

A similar online system called Green Seats shows that a family of four flying from Eindhoven to Alicante in Spain and back for their summer holiday would have to pay euro33.08 to offset their portion of the plane's carbon emissions. Green Seats is run by a company called Klimaat Neutraal Groep, which is partnering with Eindhoven Airport in its project.

The airport is not the only player in the Dutch aviation industry looking for ways to cut carbon emissions. Last week, national carrier KLM announced it plans to reduce its carbon emissions, or fund projects to offset them, by 4 million tons over four years.

''Through rapid modernization of the fleet and reduction in fuel consumption, KLM will cut emissions per passenger by 3 percent in 2012 and by 17 percent in 2020,'' the carrier said in a statement.

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Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Maybe the airlines could just build more landing strips so the planes don't spend so much fuel flying around in circles.

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