According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), aviation accounts for roughly 2 per cent of the total climate change impact of human activity. While this is a small number compared to other sectors such as car travel, given the relatively small aviation industry, this number is disproportionately large.
While the easy answer for reducing carbon emissions would be to start choosing other forms of transport altogether, from both time and price perspectives flying is inevitable.
So what action is being taken?
In 2016, the United Nations ICAO (International Civil aviation Organization) agreement was adopted by the vast majority of major airlines. An important point of this agreement being that these airlines commit to being carbon neutral by 2020.
Of course, the responsibility to be eco-conscious while flying is not only on the airline, but on the passenger as well.
Here are a few ways to have a more environmentally friendly flight:
The lighter the plane, the less fuel burned.
Some tips for packing lighter:
- Bring smaller luggage
- Put your liquids into travel-sized bottles
- Plan on doing laundry at your destination and bring less clothing
- Pack garments that can be coordinated into multiple outfits
- Leave the “just-in-case” items at home
Simply put, flying from door-to-door uses the least amount of fuel.
Note that when booking your flight, the terms ‘non-stop’ and ‘direct’ can not be used interchangeably. A non-stop flight refers to one that goes from the take off point to your destination without stopping. Meanwhile, a direct flight may make stops along the route, although you will not need to change planes.
When the blindingly bright sunshine rays are shielded from entering the plane, the plane stays a lot cooler. If every passenger were to abide and shut their window shades, on average the plane would stay about 10 degrees cooler. This means that the crew won’t have to turn up the cooling system and less energy will be used.
Many of today’s major airlines include carbon offset programs to help neutralize their emissions. While this isn’t a long-term solution, every bit of money going in an eco-friendly direction helps the planet.
So the next time you purchase a plane ticket, be sure to click that carbon offset box before checkout. Or even better, research your airlines carbon offset programs and donate directly.
By having the airline send your ticket directly to your tablet or smartphone, you are cutting down on paper usage. Save a tree!
Book a seat on a nearly-full plane
If you are searching for a last-minute flight, do some research before clicking “buy” and try to book yourself onto a nearly-full plane. The more passengers onboard a plane, the lower each passengers individual carbon emission.
Additionally, look up your airlines passenger-to-space ratio. If two airplanes are the same size, but airline A offers 100 seats on the flight while airline B offers 120, airline B is thought to be the most eco-friendly. You’ll give up a few inches of leg room for a better carbon track record.
When possible, avoid short-haul flights
When booking a domestic flight that is 1 hour or less, consider taking the bus or train instead. In many cases, taking the train will be faster when you consider going through airport security and any lag times commonly experienced.