How to become a climate friendly traveler?
Do you remember this article? https://www.travelfolio.net/yes-wold-like-help-climate/ I wrote about air travel and its effects on climate. I didn’t complete the article at that time. This post can shed light on the same topic.
The environmental impact of aviation occurs because aircraft engines emit heat, noise, particulates and gases which contribute to climate change and global warming. Despite emission reductions from automobiles & more fuel-efficient & less polluting aircraft engines, the rapid growth of air travel in recent years contributes to an increase in air pollution attributable to aviation.
Is there a scope for improving efficiency to reduce emissions?
Late model plane engines are more fuel-efficient. Therefore they emit less CO2 compared to old aircraft. You will be surprised to know that new airline models in the first decade of the 21st Century were similar on emissions to the planes of 1950’s. I was really surprised when I came to know this fact about new & older versions of aircraft. Today aircraft manufacturers are striving for reductions in both CO2 and NOx emissions with new generation of design of aircraft and engine. Introduction of more modern aircraft represents an opportunity to cut emissions per passenger KM flown. Introduction of newer planes such as my favorite Boeing 787 has shown through research that by 2050 such aircraft could reduce the airline industries by 14% – 15%.
What can you do?
Since the climate impacts of air transportation are now not adequately regulated under national or international laws, the onus is on people and businesses to limit their flying unless necessary. This is what you can do:
- Consider taking a vacation closer to where you live, whether a nearby city, nearby state or a close tourist destination. You will save money & avoid stress of airport security, traveling in tiny seats with little or no movement for hours, traveling to and from the airport. If you see tourists in your city or your state, it is an indication you can visit your state or country instead of flying to another country.
- Use webcams to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away. With tech revolution, it is becoming easier to stay in touch with family and friends that live far.
- Contact your political representative & share your concerns about aircraft and climate change. Make sure to ask them to take actions on your city/region level.
- Use other modes of travel such as trains, buses and your own car. These are much more energy-efficient than airplanes & can sometimes be faster when airports wait times are taken into consideration. Cars with more than one passenger can represent savings.
If you do have to fly:
- Fly the most direct route possible. This is due to take-offs and landings use most fuel.
- Try to reduce the number of flights you take by combining trips. If you travel for business then try to book more meetings in your destination city. So that you don’t have to fly several times.
- Pack light, because lighter planes mean less fuel burned.
- Fly during day time because night flights have a greater impact on climate.
- Flying economy means fewer emissions per traveler. Because more people per plane means fewer emission per person.
- My favorite – Purchase carbon offsets to account for the emissions from your flight. See these offsets on any airlines websites. If your airline or travel agent doesn’t offer its customers offsetting their flights, ask them to consider it.
Next time when you travel, make sure to think about your trip’s impact on climate. If you are unable to do something on your own, then try to buy carbon offset from the airlines you are going to fly. Trust me, it really helps. Make sure to leave a note, if you think this article helped you in any way to help climate, even if meant your knowledge about plane emissions is improved.
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