Lindblad Expeditions pledges carbon neutrality

Lindblad Expeditions plans an ambitious effort to become
entirely carbon neutral, mitigating or offsetting all of the carbon dioxide it
produces in a bid to address climate change.

That includes engine emissions from its ships (eight from
the Lindblad‐National Geographic fleet and five leased), all land‐based
operations, employee travel, offices in New York and Seattle, and whatever
other measurable carbon emissions it can counteract.

“It’s everything we can identify,” Lindblad
Expeditions CEO Sven Lindblad said in an interview. “We are going to
offset the entire enterprise.”

Lindblad said his company worked with consulting firm South
Pole to identify six projects to invest in. The investments focus on renewable
energy (solar and wind), reforestation, and community‐based
projects in six countries, including Mexico, Peru, and Vietnam, countries that
Lindblad‐National Geographic travelers visit. 

Lindblad didn’t disclose the amount of the investment, but
said the projects are intended to offset 50,000 metric tons of carbon, which is
about the amount emitted by 9,000 cars, he said.

Asked if Lindblad-Geographic fares would rise as a result of
the investment, Lindblad conceded they could, but added, “If we raise our
prices too much, it would hurt us, so we’re going to be very careful about
that.”

“Everything we do has a cost attached to it,”
Lindblad said, but said some costs are necessary. “Nobody is going to prosper
in a degraded world,” he said.

Lindblad said the offset would be calculated as of the start
of 2019, so the company in effect can claim to be carbon neutral already.

In addition to being carbon neutral, Lindblad in the next
month or so will introduce a carbon calculator on its website that passengers
flying to meet their cruise can use to estimate how much carbon dioxide their
airline flight will produce, and what it would cost to offset.

Some cruise lines are starting to address global warming in
part by using liquid natural gas for fuel, which produces slightly less carbon
than petroleum. Others are experimenting with battery-powered engines.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. last year agreed to invest in a
Southern Power Co. wind farm in Kansas intended to offset 12% of its carbon
emissions. But no other cruise company to date has announced a goal of
complete carbon neutrality.

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