Tag: Carbon

New travel website offers carbon labelling for UK breaks

A new website aims to help climate conscious travellers make more-informed holiday choices by calculating the carbon costs of British breaks and even day trips in response to the increase in domestic tourism during the pandemic.

Natural Britain, which launched in July, wants to become the go-to website for ethically-run travel in the UK, and claims to be the first company in the country to offer carbon labelling – a calculation of the carbon dioxide emitted – for every part of the trip.

Natural Britain hopes to appeal to the growing number of outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom have taken on new challenges or found a fresh appreciation for nature in 2020. Itineraries include a cycle tour of the Cotswolds, sky-running in Snowdonia and sea-kayaking in Scotland, and activity sessions and accommodation can also be booked separately. It hopes to feature 35 experiences by the end of the year, increasing to about 100 in 2021.

Although most are green, low-carbon trips, especially compared with foreign travel, founder Mark Wright said he wanted to make consumers more aware of the amount of carbon different aspects of a holiday generate, and hoped such labelling would become commonplace across the travel industry.

“If we all start to calculate our emissions, and everybody in the country aims for a personal footprint of 10 tons of carbon a year, there’s a much better chance of us making a meaningful reduction as a country, and as a world population,” he said.

On one of the company’s trips, on average accommodation accounts for 40% of emissions, transport 33%, food 25% and activities 1%. A five-day multi-activity break in Wales, for example, including packrafting, “riverbugging” (riding river rapids with an inflatable) and wild camping is labelled as generating 53kg of carbon dioxide per person, excluding food and reaching the destination. Advice on how to offset through a rewilding or reforestation scheme will be offered when bookings are made.

Aviation is usually responsible for 40% of global tourism’s carbon emissions, contributing 7% of the UK’s total emissions, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Yet, while the International Air Transport Association forecast air traffic would be down 66% in 2020 compared with 2019, and said it would go down as “the worst year in the history of aviation”, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization announced on Monday that climate-heating gases have still reached record levels. The reductionn of emissions of between 4.2% and 7.5% due to the pandemic was described as a “tiny blip” in the build up of greenhouse gases.

This doesn’t mean we should lose hope, says Wright, it just “stresses the urgency that we have to make changes for the long term”.

Gallery: These are the world’s best sustainable travel destinations (Harper’s Bazaar (UK))

Carbon isn’t Natural Britain’s only concern. Experiences must also benefit local communities, something Wright says the domestic tourism market has been slow to recognise as worthwhile. They must have strong sustainability policies regarding sourcing locally and single-use plastic, and be able to back them

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Chicago’s Carbide & Carbon Building to be transformed into city’s first Pendry Hotel

Becker Ventures has sold Chicago’s Carbide & Carbon Building to Montage International for an undisclosed sum. Renovations are currently underway at the Art Deco landmark, 230 N. Michigan Avenue, as it prepares to open next spring under the Pendry Hotels & Resorts banner.

Pendry Chicago will comprise 364 redesigned guestrooms and suites, featuring a contemporary palette awash in warm minimal tones and comfortable finishes. The public spaces will be designed by Alessandro Munge’s, Studio Munge, with careful attention to the detail of the historic features of the building. The hotel’s signature restaurant and bar concept, also designed by Studio Munge, will be overseen by hospitality and nightlife pioneer, Andy Masi, and his Clique Hospitality group. In addition, the hotel will feature a lobby bar and lounge, a spectacular rooftop lounge, 12,000 square feet of meetings and event space, curated fitness and wellness programming and an extensive art collection.

“We are incredibly proud to bring Pendry to the great city of Chicago,” said Alan J. Fuerstman, founder, chairman and CEO, Montage International. “We plan to honor the history imbued in the Carbide & Carbon Building by elevating and accenting its iconic design, injecting the exceptional service and guest experience for which Pendry Hotels & Resorts are known, and celebrating the remarkable city through food, spirits, art and creativity.”

The historic Carbide & Carbon Building dates back to 1929 and is famed for its unique Champagne bottle design and extravagant details featuring dark granite at the base, deep green Terracotta on the tower and 24-karat gold leaf at the top. The building had operated as the Hard Rock Hotel beginning in 2004 until a rebranding as the St. James Hotel in 2017.

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Aerial allows users to calculate carbon emissions from trips

Aerial, which launched October 20, is the brainchild of three tech entrepreneurs with combined backgrounds at Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, who wanted to allow everyday travelers to be able to involve themselves in doing their part to reduce global warming. “A nice analogy is: the same way Instagram turned everyone into a photographer,” says Ebby Amir, one of the cofounders, “we want Aerial to turn everyone into taking climate action.”

After downloading Aerial, users can connect it to their Gmail accounts, and over the course of about a minute, the app scans the inbox for travel itineraries—flight reservations, Uber and Lyft ride receipts, and train tickets—and presents users with an estimate, in kilograms, of carbon emissions of each trip taken. “After a couple minutes using the app, users will be able to calculate their carbon the same way they might do their calories or their steps,” Amir says.

For each of those rides, the app will also produce a currency figure for a recommended contribution they can make to help offset that trip, at a rate of $10 per ton. “So, you’re essentially purchasing a carbon-offsetting credit,” says Andreas Homer, one of the other cofounders. Aerial is partnering with a forest conservation project verified by Climate Action Reserve, and with each contribution, users can help conserve a given number of trees in McCloud, a forest near Mount Shasta in Northern California, 9,000 acres of conifers including incense cedars, ponderosa pines, Douglas firs, and sugar pines. They chose this particular partner because forest conservation is often better for carbon sequestration than reforestation, because mature trees are better at absorbing more carbon.

Two days after the launch, the team has calculated its users have saved 301 trees. That metric will be the one they track as they chart the app’s progress, and as they gather more data and feedback, they hope to add more features and launch a new version next year, which will hopefully allow users to select from different offsetting initiatives. “In the future, we will offer users choice, to allow them to pick a project that resonates with them,” Homer says. These may include verified reforestation or sustainable energy projects, and ones specific to users’ geographic locations.

Experts generally agree that carbon offsetting alone is not a viable solution to reduce emissions enough to reach sustainability targets—we’ll need more major policy changes instead, along with changes to our lifestyles. “We do recognize that carbon offsetting has its limitations,” Homer says, “but at the same time, we think it’s the easiest way for most people to get involved and to start doing their part.” To encourage well-rounded lifestyle changes, the app’s Discover tab is filled with tips and context on sustainable habits.

Fewer people are traveling during the pandemic, but because the app searches your inbox, it also lets you retroactively balance out past trips, says Ari Sawyers, the third cofounder. Also on Aerial’s roadmap is branching out from transport to include other sectors. The team has started testing home

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How to Plan a Vacation With a Lower Carbon Footprint

Illustration for article titled How to Plan a Vacation With a Lower Carbon Footprint

Photo: Shutterstock

Going on vacation is dreamy, and good for your brain whatever your budget. But when a single round trip from New York to London releases a literal ton of CO2 into the atmosphere (enough to melt three square meters of Arctic ice), it’s hard to relax and enjoy that free airplane booze without ruminating on it. If you want to do 2020 vacations without flygskam, we’ve got tips on strategizing for greener travel options in the year ahead.

Fly less

The big one. Taking a vacation without flying will have an overwhelmingly positive effect on your carbon footprint (taking one less transatlantic flight a year is twice as impactful as spending that whole year as a vegan).

In a piece for Outside Magazine, Taylor Gee breaks down some simple rules for cutting carbon emissions when traveling: carpooling, flying direct when you can, traveling outside of rush hour, picking carriers with the best record on delays, and driving instead of flying on short flights, especially those shorter than one hour. Added up, these small tweaks to your itinerary can have a significant impact on your vacation’s emissions.

Ready for a more dramatic change? Ariella Granett was. Shocked to find out just how damaging plane travel can be on the environment after reading a 2018 Vox story in 2018 about the international Flight Free campaign, she took up the reins for the US chapter. (Flight Free is a campaign founded by a Swedish organisation, Vi håller oss på jorden—‘We stay on the ground’—that registers people’s pledges not to fly in 2020).

Despite her role in the campaign, she knows the decision isn’t black and white: “Flying is something that people can start to think about reducing without completely letting go of and without changing their lives. So it’s keeping life recognizable… I have to be delicate around these conversations and make sure people understand that I’m not judging. I was there myself not too long ago.”

Get the train

Monisha Rajesh’s book Around the World in 80 Trains—which includes US and Canadian journeys—won a National Geographic best book award last year. While some have been using train trips to replace flights, she’s planned entire vacations around specific train routes.

In particular, she says, she loved the Canadian Sleeper: “We were just one up from Economy, it was a little cabin that had a bunk bed in it. During the day, they fold down the beds into these big lounger seats that you can sit in by the window. There’s plenty of space–you can spread out a Monopoly board on the floor and sit cross legged. It also has an ensuite toilet. I think about eight cabins share one shower, but it’s got hot water all the time.”

Rajesh also took Amtrak and though she says there are drawbacks (small cabins, infrequent trains, passes limited to 12 journeys) she loved the sociable atmosphere at dinner (“almost like speed dating”) and, of course, the panoramic

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