Google Flights adding environmental impact of users' travel

Google Flights adding environmental impact of users' travel
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Google unveiled a new feature on Wednesday that lets passengers factor in carbon emissions when booking air travel.

Google Flights will now display the carbon-emissions for nearly every flight in its search results. The environmental impact will be shown alongside airfares and flight duration.

Richard Holden, Google's vice president of travel products, described in a blog post how the carbon footprint indicators will look and function on the site.

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"Flights with significantly lower emissions will be labeled with a green badge. And if you want to prioritize carbon impact, you can sort all of the results to bring the greenest flights to the top of the list," Holden wrote.

James Byers, a senior product manager at Google who works on the Google Travel team, told The Washington Post that the estimates are based on several metrics.

"They are based on a combination of factors, such as the distance of a trip, the number of stops, the number and class of seats on board, the type of aircraft, and data from the European Environment Agency," he said.

Some airlines have announced that they are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprints with sustainable fuel. JetBlue said last week it would buy $1 billion worth of sustainable aviation fuel for flights operating out of New York City. United Airlines announced a similar move earlier in September.

While planes still account for just a small percentage of global emissions, the airline industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors with greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions had increased 32 percent between 2013 and 2018.