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Credit: Jupiter Images

Harbour Air, a seaplane service connecting the Lower Mainland with Victoria, Nanaimo and the Gulf Islands, says it’s gone carbon neutral as of January 1, 2008, offsetting its greenhouse gas emissions by funding geothermal energy projects in Richmond and Delta.

“One of our core corporate values is to do the right thing, and some of our younger execs really picked up on the offsetting thing and said we’ve got to step up,” explains Brandon Williams, Harbour Air’s marketing coordinator.

Harbour Air hired Offsetters, a local non-profit, to evaluate its carbon emissions. Surprisingly, Offsetters found Harbour Air’s flights produced lower carbon emissions per traveller than
driving onto a ferry in a single-occupancy vehicle (with two passengers in the car, the carbon cost is about the same), and produced about half the emissions of a comparable Helijet flight.

Nevertheless, Harbour Air proceeded with a mandatory carbon offset surcharge on all flights, and, according to Williams, got an overwhelmingly positive response from fliers.

The carbon offset surcharge on a $120 flight to Victoria is a whopping 50 cents.

If only expunging all sins came so cheap.