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As travel restrictions continue to ease and many passengers longing for holidays abroad, we ask, is there a more sustainable way to fly?
International air traffic accounts for around 2.5% of total carbon emissions globally. With air traffic volume set to rise globally over the next 10 years, it’s important that the aviation industry mitigates its climate impacts.
In fact, air travel is the first industry with a global emission management system that seeks to guarantee that international air traffic emissions will not increase after 2020, even if passenger numbers do. The aim is to halve emissions by 2050, relative to 2005 levels.
But what can individual passengers do to counteract climate effects when they choose to fly? Here we take a look at four simple tips:
- Fly as direct as possible
Research shows that airplanes use the most fuel and produce the most harmful emissions during take-off, and take-off can use as much as 25% of an airplane’s total fuel supply in the example of a short haul flight. By choosing a direct flight rather than making one or more stops, you are ensuring that your airplane only takes off once and is therefore much more fuel efficient.
- Offset your carbon emissions
Another way to mitigate the impact of flying is to voluntarily offset the CO2 emissions of your flight. After carbon reduction methods reach their limit, offsetting carbon can mitigate the remaining impacts. When you pay to offset your carbon emissions, you are funding projects that work to reduce greenhouse gases by, for instance, planting new trees or increasing the energy efficiency of modes of transport.
- Choose more efficient airlines or planes
The largest contribution to emissions reduction in aviation comes through technology. The latest aircraft models are already miles ahead of their predecessors in fuel efficiency: ATAG estimates that CO2 emissions per seat kilometre have halved since 1990, and each new generation of aircraft improves fuel efficiency by roughly 15%. We must also consider that the fuel consumption can not possibly be reduced further than 60% of the fuel consumption we have now, if in the future energy is still obtained from fossil fuels.
- Pack light
Packing light also makes a difference, as the total weight of the aircraft directly affects its fuel consumption. According to airline calculations, if all passengers on all flights lose one kilogram of luggage for one year, the fuel savings are sufficient to fly 20 times from Helsinki to Tokyo.
- Go paperless
This might sound like an obvious place to start, but you’d be surprised how many of us still opt for paper copies of our boarding pass. If you have a smartphone, download your boarding pass and limit the extra paper usage, time and ink that goes into printing millions of boarding passes each and every day. Here at BagsID we have made it our mission to remove traditional paper baggage tags from all journeys and help airlines reduce CO2 emissions. As an added benefit you are less likely to lose a digital pass.
If we all play our part then we can all have an effect on the impact flying has on the environment whilst still enjoying exploring the world.