Air Travel and GHG Emissions

Will grandparents cut back on air travel to reduce GHG emissions?

We received a question about air travel, a subject of commentary in several of our blogs. The specific question was:

“How many grandparents in 4RG have decided to not fly in order to preserve climate stability?”

The questioner referred to his older brother (63) who is now a (relatively recent) grandfather, and has avoided flying for around ten years . It is a difficult choice that requires being mature enough to see the physical & moral impact of present behaviour on future generations, even if it means sacrificing present social relations to future ones.

We cannot provide an in-depth answer, but we can give a frank reply based upon our knowledge of conduct within our community.

A member of our Steering Committee refuses to fly. She takes the train for travel within Canada. She has written to MP’s calling on them to use this method of travel. Two other members take the train wherever possible, including holidays. Two other members fly, but purchase carbon offsets.

Carbon offsets for air travel are rarely purchased. We visited the Air Canada Website from which we gleaned the following information. In 2014, Air Canada passengers had purchased offsets in the total amount of $339,483 representing 21001 tons of CO2. This figure was approximately $23,000 above the figures for November 2013, which was greater than the average purchase of $13,000 for the three previous years (admittedly years in which the Canadian economy was recovering from the 2008 crash.)

The air travel industry will not support a price on carbon consumed in flight. There is a slight possibility that the EU will pressure international airlines to include a minimum carbon tax in the ticket price or levy an emissions charge similar to the airport tax now levied For further commentary follow these links:

Recreational Air Travel

Purchasing Carbon Offsets

The Wild West of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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