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The British Royal Family are in the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week following the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took four private jet flights in 11 days while at the same time publicly campaigning against climate change.

The couple took return flights to both Nice, France, and Ibiza, Spain. Sir Elton John has leapt to the defence of the couple, explaining that he had paid to help carbon offset one of the return journeys, which was to his home in France.

Being a traveller, you may have at some point been presented with the opportunity to offset your flights during the booking process by paying just a few pounds more. If you’re a traveller concerned about your carbon footprint, this may represent great value, as you’re likely to be on an aircraft with hundreds of others who can share the total carbon offset cost.

But private jets are a different story. So just how much would Sir Elton (or the Royals themselves) actually have to pay in order to fully offset the flights?

The BBC reports that the journey to France was on a private jet with fuel requirements of around 411 gallons, or 1,868 litres, in each direction. Based on The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s guidance of carbon dioxide emissions, the return journey on this aircraft would have been 9.4 tonnes of emissions.

Nice, France. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

When paying to offset this flight, Sir Elton can choose between the offset going to different environmental causes with different costs, such as:

  • Unspecified projects generating Certified Emissions Reductions at a rate of £7.50 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions;
  • Planting trees in Kenya at a rate of £9.60 per tonne; or for a higher cost
  • Planting trees here in the UK at a rate of £13 per tonne.

So, depending on which cause he selected, he would be paying between £70 and £122 to offset the couple’s flight to Nice.

The aircraft the couple flew to Ibiza was a longer flight on a slightly smaller plane, resulting in an approximate total emission of 10.4 tonnes, so the cost of carbon offsetting this flight would have been between £78 and £136.

Featured image by Gettys Images

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