Air travel is a growing contributor to climate change. In 2006, air travel accounted for 6.4 per cent of the UK’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas causing climate change. Forecasts suggest that this could grow. If no action is taken, carbon dioxide emissions from aviation could make up around 10 per cent of the UK’s total CO2 emissions by 2020.
Reducing the amount you travel can lessen your impact on climate change – and could also save you time and money. Instead of holidaying abroad could you think about taking a holiday within the UK? Or, if you do want to holiday abroad, taking one longer holiday will have a lower impact than going on several short trips if you are flying each time.
When making journeys in the UK, and even internationally, there is often the option of getting there without flying. On average, travelling by rail results in about a third of the CO2 emissions of the equivalent domestic or short-haul flight in Europe. Travelling by train is often as convenient as flying too.
If air travel is unavoidable, you could think about offsetting your emissions.
Planes burn fuel when they fly, and this produces emissions that contribute to climate change. You can compensate for your emissions by paying someone to make an equivalent emissions saving or reduction – this is called carbon offsetting.
More and more air travel companies now offer an offsetting scheme when you purchase a flight. There is also a government quality mark you can look for, which could help you choose a good quality scheme. For more information, see the link below.
Carbon offsetting can help reduce the impact of your activities in the short term. However, it’s not a substitute for producing fewer emissions in the first place.
Road traffic is a major contributor to air pollution near airports. Leaving your car at home and finding other ways of travelling to the airport can help reduce climate change effects and local air pollution
Airports usually have good public transport links, and you may find a bus or train quicker and more relaxing than going by car.