Rick Steves has decided to impose a carbon tax on his travel company to offset the environmental cost of travel.
Spotted: Climate change is at the front of most people’s minds right now and one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions is travel. Now, travel guru Rick Steves, who has spent his career urging people to travel more, is planning to donate $1 million a year from the profits of his tour company as a “self-imposed” carbon tax.
It is estimated that one round-trip flight from the US to Europe emits roughly as much carbon into the atmosphere as driving a car for 6 months. The amount donated by Steves’ company is based on the recommendation that for each round-trip economy-class ticket purchased, a $30 carbon offset credit should be paid. Steve’s company takes 30,000 people to Europe each year, and he has rounded the figure up from $900,000 to $1 million.
Steves will give the money directly to non-profits working in countries that suffer from the worst effects of climate change. So far, these have included organisations that promote sustainable farming, reforestation and who advocate in the U.S. Congress for government policies to fight climate change.
Organisations who received money this year included Bread for the World, Project Concern International, Argos International and ELCA World Hunger. The company will review and reassess the list of grantees each year.
Steves explained the decision to set up the fund by saying that, “Every person and every business contributes to this problem, and we believe every person and every business has a responsibility to the environment.”