As cheap airlines increase, more people have been able to access air travel. A good thing for many of us. But at what cost to the climate?
According to the David Suzuki Foundation air travel accounts for 4-9 per cent “of total climate change impact of human activity”. As many have said — this appears to be insignificant. However, air travel’s contribution is disproportionate.
The Tufts Climate Initiative website states that if Americans fly return to Europe “you’ll add about 3-4 tonnes to your carbon footprint. With one flight you will have caused more emissions than 20 Bangladeshi will cause in a whole year. Unfortunately they are the ones who will lose their homes and livelihood once sea level rise inundates their low lying country”.
The carbon emissions of an aircraft are produced at high altitudes. Studies have shown that the impact is “two to four times greater” then the actual carbon dioxide emissions if produced at ground level.
Avoid air travel if possible. A hard decision when you have spent the last two years trying to earn enough money for that Thai holiday. It’s a case of numbers. The number of flights increase – so does the impact.
Try other modes of transport. Trains and buses. Emissions can be 3-7 times lower and why not see more of your own country? Local tourism will love it and you will help support your local economy. For those of us living in Australia who want to visit other countries flying is our only option. But isn’t the rest of the world wanting to come here?
The grass isn’t always greener. Plus, we here in Australia are lucky — we have so many attractions the rest of the world envies. I’ve always found it hard to really enjoy beaches in Asia when I’ve spent most of my life on Australian beaches. Clean beaches, clean water and in many cases almost no one else to step on your towel.
The issue for the future? If Australian tourism depends on overseas visitors, and places like the Barrier Reef are under threat from Climate Change are we to return to ocean travel? In an instant, I want it now world, I doubt many would have the patience to travel by ship for a month. The solution is hard, but it depends on how much we want to really do something to fix a global problem.