Part 1/10: Saving the Planet by Flying Less

This is Part 1 of a 10 part series of blogs in support of the 10:10 campaign  initiated by Franny Armstrong’s team to complement the documentary on global warming, “The Age of Stupid” . It is to enable each one of us to take action to reduce our carbon emissions by 10% in 2010.  Download the 10 point family checklist from the campaign here.

 The Checklist list of the 10:10 campaign lists to FLY LESS as Step 1.

Air travel presently accounts for 2% of the global annual carbon emissions and this share is increasing. It is estimated that since 1990, CO2 emissions from international aviation has increased 83%. There are more people travelling by air because of increasing disposable income and affordability, increase in the number of routes and competition among airlines. But all of this comes with a cost – a cost to the environment.

Apart from carbon emissions, planes leave contrails or vapour trails at the upper layers of the atmosphere. This adds up to the greenhouse effect, by not allowing the sun’s heat to escape.


 These are the ways by which can reduce our carbon emissions from air travel :

1. Reduce the number of holidays that you take each year entailing air travel. 

2. Take holidays closer to home, so you can travel by train or bus or ferry. According to a study commissioned by Eurostar, taking a train from London to Paris actually cuts carbon emissions by 90% .

3. Choose a direct flight if possible over a flight with stopovers, especially if the total flying time is less in the former. This translates into less overall fuel consumption.

4. Choose airlines which have a good track record of arriving and departing on time. According to Air Transport World, “If we could save a minute on every flight each year, we would save $3.6 billion on total operating costs, including $700 million on fuel, and 4.2 million tons of CO2 emissions, not to mention other pollutants and greenhouse gases.”

5. If you’re an employer, cut down on air travel for staff by encouraging them to teleconference.  According     to  WWF if all European companies replaced 20% of their business flights with video conferencing, it would save 22 million tons of CO2 every year.

6. Whenever you do have to fly, offset your air travel by purchasing carbon offsets for your flight or for your car travel, for that matter, using a reputed carbon offset company.  As recommended by Tufts University, the top carbon offset companies are Atmosfair ,  Climate Friendly  and Native Energy

Another well known organisation which plants trees as carbon offsets is Plant A Tree Today


Other actions you can take related to air travel are:

7.  Travel light – It is always a good idea, regardless of the mode of travel, as fuel consumption increases with the weight carried by the airline.  Respect the weight restrictions given by airlines, and avoid overloading your baggage.

8. Choose to fly with airlines that recycle waste. Waste generated by an airline is usually in the cabin and food & beverages served to passengers. British Airways has a very strong environmental agenda. Southwest Airlines recycles all cabin waste, and was the first to offer electronic ticketing system wide. Get more information on the airlines trying to be green.

7.  Go vegetarian or vegan on your inflight menu choices. A meat based diet increases your carbon footprint, because industrial meat production is fossil fuel intensive.

8.  Give feedback to the airline on their waste management policy,  fight punctuality, carbon offset schemes or any other aspect that would increase their being environmentally responsible.


The ideas are from the free e-book which will be made available soon on this website called, “A Quicklist of 1001 Steps to Save the Planet”


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Posted by on Sep 25 2009. Filed under Carbon Footprint, Climate Change, Green Travel/Transport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

5 Comments for “Part 1/10: Saving the Planet by Flying Less”

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  2. Very great website.
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  3. Thanks for stopping by. And do let us know if you’re looking for any topics that you can’t find here :)

  4. This is a very good web page.

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  5. Thanks for stopping by :)

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