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Flying

Climate Impact:

What you can do

Take no more than one return flight each year. If you do fly - you can double offset your emissions to reduce the impact.

Who's doing it?

0 people

Climate impact

Flying is carbon intensive. The combustion of jet fuel releases a lot of carbon emissions. Per-passenger, a single long haul flight can generate more emissions than many people in the world produce in an entire year.

 

The impact of reducing your air travel depends heavily on how often you fly. If you are a frequent flyer, reducing the amount you fly will almost certainly be the most impactful way you can help fight climate change. For someone who takes one return long haul flight a year, or two return short haul flights, a year of not flying will prevent around 1 tonne of CO2 emissions. See impact calculations.

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Additional benefits
  • Save money on expensive flights

  • Avoid airports

  • Explore new parts of your home country

Challenges
  • Reduced travel flexibility

Resources
  • Book trains and busses across Europe with Rail Europe (EUR)

  • If you fly, use MyClimate to offset your emissions

Tips
  • Talk to friends and family about their favourite places in your home country

  • Book trains and busses in advance to get cheap fares

Facts and further information
  • A return flight from London to New York generates around 1 tonne of carbon dioxide per passenger - around 10% of the average British person's annual carbon footprint [1].

  • It's estimated that only 5%-10% of the world's population fly each year [2].

  • Compare emissions from different types of transport - BBC article.

Ask the Flying group
 
Impact assessment

There is very little data available on average miles flown per year. The amount that people fly each year varies considerably. 

Given the high emissions of a flight, the important thing to remember is - if you fly, reducing the amount you fly is a high impact way of taking action.

For the purposes of this impact assessment we have assumed that a person takes one return long haul flight or two return short haul flights a year. The distance travelled in this assessment is 7,000 miles a year, equivalent to a return flight from London to New York. 

Individual CO2 emissions from a return flight from London to New York in economy class [1] = 986kg = 1 tonne of CO2

By avoiding taking this flight or by double offsetting the emissions, the associated emissions are assumed to be reduced to nil. 

The impact therefore of taking no more than one flight a year and double offsetting the emissions when taking that flight can be estimated as preventing 1 tonne of CO2 emissions.

References