O Fly Not

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He has thus persuaded theaters to allow for train trips, and made plans to go by train, along with his four assistants, to Moscow and four cities in China in fall On October 2, 36 young climate activists and five crew members set sail from Amsterdam on a seven-week voyage to Chile to attend the COP25 and lobby national governments to take the steps needed to radically cut flying-related emissions. It is for such reasons that UBS predicted that rising concerns about the environmental impact of flying will reduce the sale of new jets from Boeing and Airbus in the coming years.

In the United Kingdom especially, where more than two-thirds of those recently polled think that people should reduce the amount of flying they do, the issue seems to be receiving increased attention. In September, the BBC ran an extensive piece on the growing support for the anti-flying movement and an increasing embrace of slower forms of travel.

A global survey released at the end of August by Ipsos , a research organization, found that one out of seven people are willing to use a form of transportation with a lower co2 footprint than aviation even if were costlier and less convenient. In China, the figure was nearly two thirds of those surveyed. If the alternative forms of transport are as convenient as, and no more expensive than flying, 29 percent would switch. What makes these developments all the more necessary is that flight-related emissions not only continue to increase, but also have grown much faster than many expected.

In September, the International Council on Clean Transportation reported that, based on its study, emissions from commercial air travel are increasing 1. The seven-hour trip between the two cities included workshops and academic discussions that took place in a train car dedicated to the moving gathering.

10 tips for the fearful flier

According to ClimateWednesday , there are efforts at numerous institutions in Germany to encourage academics to commit not to fly short distances distances that can be traversed by non-flying means in less than 12 hours. As reported on its website , many hundreds of German academics have made the commitment thus far. In light of the necessity of reducing the amount of flying, the term sought to ascertain the types of airborne trips that could be relatively easily reduced. Of the flights taken by the students, 40 percent were for leisure purposes, and 23 percent were aimed at visiting friends or relations.

The students rated 48 percent of their flights as lacking importance. Focusing on the UdeM, the team surveyed individuals about their travel habits. The team also gathered data from the university regarding the travel of sports teams and travel data related to study abroad programs and international students. In terms of mode of travel, 35 percent of trips were by plane. For students, the figure was Among professors who responded, the size of their work-related travel footprint alone averages Finally, tourism, transportation, and energy scholars Scott Cohen and Joseph Kantenbacher assert in their conceptual article that a key reason that arguments for reducing air travel have failed to win over many frequent flyers is that they are narrowly framed around climate change.

They thus advocate for a focus on the personal health benefits of flying less. In the end, the authors call for research to test empirically the effectiveness of such an approach.

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The UN agency has received 14 proposals for offsetting programs, and seeks public comment on whether they satisfy evaluation criteria. Perhaps the most difficult criterion, which the proposals I read do not meet, is the additionality criterion. I first heard about the open comment period yesterday. Here attached are my public comments on the first 5 of the 14 offset proposals ordered alphabetically. Insufficient time was provided in the public comment period for me to read the remaining proposals.

The due date for comments is Sep. Because the ICAO website does not give an opening date for the comment period, and the ICAO Twitter feed does not contain any announcement of the comment period, I can find no evidence that this comment period was longer than 2 days. Clearly, this is not proper procedure.

And if you need to travel last-minute — in the next week — the price gap between plane and train can be narrower. The train journeys can look daunting when compared with the speedy travel times quoted by the airlines. But it's not really a fair comparison. The train services generally run from city center to city center, and, with the exception of routes involving the UK, you can turn up at the station minutes before departure. Reaching the airport, going through security, waiting at the gate and leaving the destination airport easily adds three hours to the flight times.

The train starts to compare more favorably.

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Some of our routes have benefited from investment in rail infrastructure in recent years. Eurostar launched its direct service from London to Amsterdam earlier this year. And the Paris-Barcelona trip used to take 12 hours until a new high-speed line across the French-Spanish border opened in If you've flown with a budget airline, you've almost certainly discovered the unexpected extras that can ramp up the cost.

Getting to the airport, checking in a bag and choosing a seat can exceed the original price of the ticket. But how can we measure the hidden environmental cost of our journeys? When it comes to greenhouse gases, DW used figures from IFEU, an environmental consultancy firm that runs EcoPassenger, a website that estimates the emissions per traveler for any given journey. The first task when calculating the environmental cost of a flight is to determine the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the aircraft.

Are many people involved in the movement?

To give a sense of scale, the tank of a Boeing holds over , liters 52, gallons of kerosene when full — about as much fuel as 4, small cars. Taking off and climbing to altitude at the start of the trip are the most fuel-intensive phases. That means a short-haul flight will require more fuel per kilometer traveled than a long-haul flight: 75 grams of kerosene per kilometer roughly 4 ounces per mile per passenger for a flight of kilometers miles , for example, versus 33 grams per kilometer for a flight of 1, kilometers, according to IFEU.

Read more: To fly or not to fly: The environmental cost of air travel. Working out how much carbon dioxide is released by burning kerosene is pretty straightforward. The extra impact of nitrogen oxides, ozone, water vapor, soot and sulfurs released by planes is called the Radiative Forcing Index. The IFEU model assumes that this additional global warming effect comes into play when flying at a height of 9 kilometers or higher.

High-speed trains run on electricity, so the IFEU estimates their greenhouse gas output based on the emissions involved in generating power. These vary by country : Poland, for example, generated 89 percent of its electricity through coal, gas or oil in , whereas in Germany the figure was 58 percent. It's not hard to understand the time and money involved in a trip.

Oh, Fly by Jane Yolen | Poetry Foundation

But how are we supposed to decide whether kilograms pounds of carbon dioxide is a reasonable price to pay for our weekend minibreak? Enter the social cost of carbon. Economists have been working on this idea for years. The theory is simple: If we can estimate the cost of climate change on society — and we know that greenhouse gases lead to climate change — we can put a price on carbon emissions. The main purpose is to help governments decide whether spending money on carbon-reduction measures is worth it. But we can also apply the social cost of carbon to our journeys.

There is no academic consensus as to how much the social cost of carbon should be. But some researchers say those figures fail to capture the potential consequences of catastrophic climate change and the number should be at least 10 times higher.

This represents the high end of estimates of the social cost of carbon. Adding the social cost of carbon to our train and plane ticket prices means things start to look quite different:.


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Planes are cheaper on three of the routes. If you add the social cost of carbon, the actual figure is much higher — especially for planes, which become the way-more-expensive option to travel. We've presented all the data in one diagram showing the ticket price, journey time and carbon emissions for each route.

When factoring in all the above-mentioned aspects, the chart shows that the overall cost of a train trip is now lower than that of a flight for nearly all of the journeys. With a more realistic assessment of travel times and the social cost of carbon factored in, the cost of train travel generally runs lower than that of flights, with the blue triangle appearing almost fully within a red triangle.

Of course, this is just an experiment, and there's no academic consensus as to how much the social cost of carbon is, or whether it is the right approach to environmentally friendly decision-making. But adding a levy to ticket prices based on emissions — a carbon tax — could be an effective way of decreasing the contribution of consumer air travel to climate change and encourage people to find more environmentally friendly ways of making their journeys. David Hodgkinson, an associate professor of law at the University of Western Australia, argues that a carbon tax is needed, especially given the complexity of other cross-border strategies for reducing emissions.

Most people, and even the airline industry, would accept that there needs to be some form of price on aviation emissions. Read more: Buy your right to pollute. Hodgkinson is critical of existing initiatives to tackle aviation emissions, including a carbon offsetting model drawn up by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Emissions will likely increase year on year," he said. Roger Tyers, a behavioral scientist who has researched carbon offsetting approaches at the University of Southampton, believes that increased costs alone may not be enough to reduce the demand for air travel.

Read more: The battle between high-speed trains and low-cost airlines. He said more investment in high-speed rail would help close the gap in journey time, and that people need cultural signals to encourage them to change their behavior. Tyers said, however, that European leaders have been unwilling to confront the proliferation of consumer aviation. Many aviation companies offer an option to offset carbon emissions.

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But where does that money go, and how effective is this contribution? Though air travel is more popular than ever, the vast majority of people in the world have never been on a plane. As that dynamic slowly changes, the environment stands to suffer. Is flying less the only solution? Germany's long-awaited high-speed rail link between Berlin and Munich has finally been inaugurated.

People are now aware of climate change. But almost no one wants to do without a holiday flight or cruise. The UN's scientific body on climate change highlights in a new report the strong connection between land use and climate change.

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