I fully agree that that a 14 million ton CO2 reduction by more direct routing would just be a drop in the water, but let’s face it: aviation in it-self, with currently only 2% percent (albeit rapidly growing), global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is just a drop in the global emissions bucket! However, aviation is the most promising industry to make significant global progress in introducing measures to reduce GHG emissions: it has global standards and regulations, is sensitive to the issue (due to negative press), and it can easily be taxed (e.g. ticket levy). The challenges are multiple issues. First of all, many governments see aviation as a welcome cash-cow to levy some urgent needed funds for their empty coffers. These levies, technically motivating passengers to travel less by increasing the ticket price, are not very effective. The recent increase in oil price (as per 01 April 2011 a 45% increase resulting in $58 billion increase in operational cost of the industry) is far more effective to curb demand. Emissions trading schemes are a great system if there is enough demand and supply of emissions rights. However, if oil continues to rise, there is less traffic and no immediate need for rights; and if traffic increases, then we may come to the point where to industry has not enough rights left, and we will just start to fill the covers of treasuries by buying additional pubic rights. In other words, we need to expand the ETS to more industries, and this at least in all nations of the major aviation markets (EU, USA, and some emerging markets). We are far away from these nations to introduce this system e.g. in surface transportation. So this brings us to your suggested off-set programs. Certainly, this would be a great solution if we had enough proven programs (how many trees can we plant or how many industries can we motivate and finance their reduction of CO2 emissions). In addition, we need to have a global solution or at least enforcement in all nations of the major markets. If not, we start distorting competition because some carriers would not need to finance off-sets while others do (e.g. some sixth freedom operations in non off-set countries would benefit). This finally brings us the voluntary “good citizen” approach in off-set programs, where it is a civic duty to off-set your carbon footprint. I am very in favor of this approach, but budget cuts around the world (e.g. some executives are forced to travel economy class) makes this less attractive. Much marketing and communication is needed, in a world where many other sectors (e.g. water, health, security) need support. In conclusion: the aviation industry has a great opportunity to lead the transport industry by implementing several measures to reduce and off-set their carbon emissions. However, each in itself, as well as the industry overall, just represents some drops in the water – but many drops may eventually constitute a movement that may catalyze other industries.