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The British royal family is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week, following 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 defense 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 traveler, you may have at some point been presented with the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint of your flights during the booking process, by paying just a few dollars more. If you’re a traveler 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 in each direction. Based on the British Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s guidance of carbon dioxide emissions, the return journey on this aircraft would have produced 9.4 tons of emissions.

Nice, France. (Photo by 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 ton of carbon dioxide emissions;
  • Planting trees in Kenya at a rate of £9.60 per ton; or for a higher cost,
  • Planting trees in the UK at a rate of £13 per ton.

So, depending on which cause he selected, he would be paying between £70 and £122 to offset the couple’s flight to Nice, or up to a maximum of $85.

The couple flew to Ibiza, a longer flight, on a slightly smaller plane, resulting in an approximate total emission of 10.4 tons, so the cost of carbon offsetting this flight would have been between £78 and £136 — a maximum of $165.

Featured image by Getty Images

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