Combat Climate Change

Reduce your Transport Carbon Emissions

Sustainable travel tourism, climate change, reduce carbon emissions, transport

Reduce your Transport Carbon Emissions

Aviation contributes to approximately 5% of global warming (with ~2.5% from CO2 emissions plus ~2.5% from water vapour trails produced by aircraft), of which 80% of that is tourism related, so it makes sense to be aware of our transport carbon emissions, and try to reduce our airline transportation where possible, instead opt for more environmentally friendly transportation for overland trips. 

Of course if you live in Australia, we don’t suggest to row a boat to the United Kingdom! Rather opt for the long haul flight, over the three short flights to arrive there instead. As airplane take off and landing that contribute to the most carbon emissions produced. So the fewer flights you have the better for the planet. 

The global average carbon emission per person per year to live was 4.8 tonnes (based on 2017 data). In comparison one return economy flight from the UK to Australia produces approx 6 tonnes of CO2e, that is 50% more than the average full year per person. Or a return economy flight from Paris to New York is approx 1.75 tonnes of CO2e, that is almost 6 months average usage per person. 

Calculate your carbon emissions

To test your upcoming flight path, or scarily your past trips, try these carbon emission calculators

https://co2.myclimate.org/en/offset_further_emissions 

https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx 

There are many transportation alternatives to taking a flight, the list is quite long actually. From fast trains, standard trains, long distance coaches, public buses, ferries, yachts, cargo boats, ride share, motorbike, scooter, cycling and the best of all walking. Most ground transportation travel time will take longer than a flight, although the shorter the distance, the less of a difference in time there is when you factor in airport check in, security, baggage collection etc. 

You can even reduce your travel costs by combining your transportation and accommodation into one, such as overnight train or bus services. By opting for this method, you are saving on a night’s accommodation, whilst making a conscious decision on your transportation type. Whilst you won’t have a full size flat bed to sleep on, or a shower to step into, surely one night here and there of overnight transportation would be doable. Plus the other benefit is you normally get to see the countryside and townships that you wouldn’t normally if travelling by air. 

Just be cautious of your belongings on overnight journeys, as I had some items stolen from my bag whilst traveling through Peru. My bag was stored in the undercarriage of an overnight bus, and apparently at various stops along the way, people would hop onboard underneath and go through bags during each bus stop. Thankfully it was nothing of value that was stolen. Just be sure to keep all valuables with you at all times, as per usual when travelling anyway. 

Carbon offset programs ask for customers to pay a fee to offset the carbon emissions for flying, although these are “soft” actions as they generally mean they’ll plant a tree (or such) on your behalf. Would planting a tree offset your flight from Paris to Rome, probably not. 

Understandably these days airlines offer cheap deals on flights, which make flying a very tempting method of transport. However to have a sustainable travel mindset, it takes going past your wallet and bank account to ensure long term sustainability of our planet. Try to think more than the monetary side of transportation, you can opt for a cheap flight or alternatively opt for an overnight train or bus, where you would have opportunities to see new scenery, meet locals on board, possibly like minded travellers, and also try local foods.

The best way to reduce your carbon emission is to opt for alternative transportation on all your future trips. 

How can you reduce your transport carbon emissions?