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coconut
Dec 28th, 2005, 11:58 PM
What are peoplesí opinions on the ethics of air travel?

Climate change really scares me. It seems not a week goes by without a new warning by scientists that out climate is being ever more screwed up by human activity. The fact is: we know the worldís climate is being thrown into chaos by excessive CO2 emissions and air travel is responsible for a massive amount of this. Since air travel consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels, people who are born seven generations down the line arenít going to be able to travel around the world the way we can today. Not unless some amazing new technology is invented.

Iím not saying itís wrong to travel in this way. But itís confusing trying to decide if itís the right thing to do, especially since Iím at the age where most people I know are hopping on planes and flying around the world exploring different cultures. I want to see these things too, but I also want future generations to live on a healthy planet with a healthy weather system.

DianeVegan
Dec 29th, 2005, 04:19 PM
Coconut, according to The Worldwatch Institute's "Vital Signs 2005" report, air travel only accounts for 2 percent of all human caused CO2 emissions. However, it accounts for almost 100 percent of all nitrgen oxides (other greenhouse gasses) found 8-15 kilometers above earth. Air travel also produces ozone, sulfur dioxide, methane and water vapor.

In 1992 it was estimated that aviation accounted for 3.5 percent of human caused climate changes - and will have 11 times more impact by 2050.

The most harmful aviation emissions (and most fuel use) occur during takeoff, so longer flights are the most fuel efficient. And the estimated most fuel efficient flight length? Approximately 4,300 kilometers or the distance of Europe to the U.S. east coast.

What does this mean? There are no easy answers, IMO. If you have the option of taking a train then it definitely appears to have less environmental impact. If you have a desire to travel then you must come to terms with the environmental impact your own personal actions cause. Not to make excuses, but I feel that if you have little impact environmentally by the way you eat and live your everyday life then the occasional plane trip shouldn't make you all that guilty. [I say this as someone who just took a trip to relatives by plane - no rail service available]

Geoff
Dec 29th, 2005, 11:29 PM
The most harmful aviation emissions (and most fuel use) occur during takeoff, so longer flights are the most fuel efficient. And the estimated most fuel efficient flight length? Approximately 4,300 kilometers or the distance of Europe to the U.S. east coast.

So, all domestic flights should be made via Europe, with the added benefit of Americans learning that there ARE countries and cultures other than their own! :)

veganblue
Dec 30th, 2005, 12:11 AM
Coconut - I have the same concerns - and thanks for the information DianeVegan.

Yesterday I paid for the second major flight of my life (the first being to and around China in 1994). I am going to Spain to meet someone that feels to both of us that we are suited to be life partners.

It's a big step - and yes - the decision to fly was a tough one. I flew on animal liberation business also this year - the flight was 2 hours and the drive would have been 24 hours by bus.

I just can wait till a new form of travel is found. I personally like the idea of a long distance glider. :D I may have to reduce my packing a bit though!

DianeVegan
Dec 30th, 2005, 06:55 PM
Congrats on finding the life partner VeganBlue! I wish the both of you lots of luck and happiness.:)

The_Lincoln_Imp
Apr 9th, 2006, 11:58 AM
What are peoplesí opinions on the ethics of air travel?

Climate change really scares me. It seems not a week goes by without a new warning by scientists that out climate is being ever more screwed up by human activity. The fact is: we know the worldís climate is being thrown into chaos by excessive CO2 emissions and air travel is responsible for a massive amount of this. Since air travel consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels, people who are born seven generations down the line arenít going to be able to travel around the world the way we can today. Not unless some amazing new technology is invented.

Iím not saying itís wrong to travel in this way. But itís confusing trying to decide if itís the right thing to do, especially since Iím at the age where most people I know are hopping on planes and flying around the world exploring different cultures. I want to see these things too, but I also want future generations to live on a healthy planet with a healthy weather system.

Obviously cars and industry prove the biggest polluters by percentage but one longhaul airflight per passenger is equal to average western car driver's emissions over a whole year. Really disgusting how cheap airflight is right now. Nobody taking any responsibility.

herbwormwood
Apr 15th, 2006, 03:37 PM
What about construction? I heard construction (new houses, roads, cars, offices) was a far greater cause of global warming than transport and heating.
Is this true? I have a feeling it may be.

Akala
May 26th, 2008, 08:08 PM
Kind of related

The Food Ethics Council (http://www.foodethicscouncil.org/node) have an opinion on air freighted food and launched a report 'Flying food' (http://www.foodethicscouncil.org/files/flyingfood.pdf) on 21st May '08

An extract from page 9:


Aviation is highly greenhouse gas intensive (GHG) and dominates all other life cycle impacts for for most air freighted food. Although less than 1% of all food is known to be carried by air, it accounts for 11% of total food transport CO2. Data gaps mean the true figure could be higher.

Yet air freighted food makes a much smaller contribution to total Uk emissions than other aspects of farming and food. Compared with the 0.3% of total UK emissions associated with food air freight, fresh fruit and vegetables in total account for 2.5%, refrigeration for 3.5%, alcoholic drinks fo 1.5%, and meat and dairy for 8%.

ClawsyWP
Jul 31st, 2008, 07:07 PM
i want to be able to travel by plane. For most of my life i have lived at the arse end of the world (NZ) and not seen any of the world. We flew over to the UK to live. I see lots of Britains going on holiday all the time....
If those same people tell me i am bad because i wanna go see a foreign country i will tell them to sod off. I have hardly travelled in my life and i am not going to go without just because other people gorge themselves on it.
Should have a life time quota of air travel that would be fair. And all the people who have travelled a lot already can stay at home and let people like myself still get cheap flights.

seitan
Jul 31st, 2008, 08:37 PM
flyign is damaging, theres no debating that.
we all do things that are "bad", so its down to the indiviual, on how far they ar eprepared to go.
ive not flown for 2 or 3 years now, and i dont plan on flying any time soon.

gogs67
Jul 31st, 2008, 09:18 PM
Shipping accounts for twice as much CO2 emissions into the atmosphere than Air travel does!
Why is there a deafening silence on the accountability of the freight companies?
Is it easier to tax individuals than the large transport multinationals?

puffin
Jul 31st, 2008, 09:34 PM
This is quite interesting reading
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/03/shipping_vs_air.php

horselesspaul
Jul 31st, 2008, 10:02 PM
Shipping accounts for twice as much CO2 emissions into the atmosphere than Air travel does!
Why is there a deafening silence on the accountability of the freight companies?
Is it easier to tax individuals than the large transport multinationals?
This is hitting the nail on the head imo.

Mahk
Jul 31st, 2008, 10:59 PM
I think we should transport goods by using gliders, helium balloons, canoes, and on land bicycles.:)
-------------------------------
On a more serious note, I was surprised to learn recently that outboard powerboats for recreation pollute nearly as much as cars and trucks (http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=ECmhuneTP5oC&dq=polluting+for+pleasure&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=VUNKidxWVi&sig=zLrvpS5IgRgKGNORKSFyLTyMjwM&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPP1,M1).
--------------------------------
I'm not sure I'm buying this claim that shipping by boat actually has a larger carbon footprint than fast jets, pound for pound (metric ton for metric ton?). If that were true who on earth would use slow poke boats? Am i missing something?:confused:

gogs67
Jul 31st, 2008, 11:22 PM
I think we should transport goods by using gliders, helium balloons, canoes, and on land bicycles.:)
-------------------------------
On a more serious note, I was surprised to learn recently that outboard powerboats for recreation pollute nearly as much as cars and trucks (http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=ECmhuneTP5oC&dq=polluting+for+pleasure&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=VUNKidxWVi&sig=zLrvpS5IgRgKGNORKSFyLTyMjwM&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPP1,M1).
--------------------------------
I'm not sure I'm buying this claim that shipping by boat actually has a larger carbon footprint than fast jets, pound for pound (metric ton for metric ton?). If that were true who on earth would use slow poke boats? Am i missing something?:confused:
Not sure where you get that from? :confused:
According to Puffins article shipping is about 100 times more efficient than air travel!



using Climate Care's (http://www.climatecare.org/) calculations, shipping 1.5 tonnes of product by ship to the UK created 0.124 tonnes of CO2, while shipping only 0.5 tonnes of the same product by air created 4.5 tonnes of CO2.

Mahk
Jul 31st, 2008, 11:46 PM
Thanks gogs, I see now. I read this part alone, didn't buy it, and stopped reading any further:

However, this leaves aside a big question, touched on in our comments section, regarding emissions by weight of cargo e.g. if the same amount of freight was shipped by air or by sea, which would produce more greenhouse gases? It seems, looking at the numbers, that shipping comes way ahead of airlines on this count.

EcoTribalVegan
Aug 1st, 2008, 05:08 PM
I heard it was because the emissions went right into the atmosphere that even though it accounts for a lesser volume, the volume it does produce is more harmful because of that direct proximity.

Sarah_
Aug 29th, 2008, 11:15 PM
Well jeez. I never even thought about planes and their environmental impact. I visit my mother once or twice a year in Iowa and I've taken a plane every time except once, where I chose to take a greyhound there and back. I refuse to use a greyhound ever again, as it was miserable, but now that I know I'll definitely try a train and see how far I can go.

matt35mm
Aug 29th, 2008, 11:56 PM
My Greyhound experience was pretty terrible, too. Going from Santa Cruz to Orange County (8 hours by car) took 17 hours to get there, and 20 hours to get back. All sorts of problems and strange companions (though I had a nice conversation with someone on the first trip). I can't imagine Greyhounding to Iowa from SoCal.

Virgin Atlantic offered an option for uh, what's it called, purchasing CO2 emission credits or maybe it was just donating for research on alternative fuels. It's supposed to help balance out the amount of CO2 spent on my travel.

Sarah_
Aug 30th, 2008, 12:06 AM
^ That;s a good thing to do then, maybe I'll try that CO2 thing.

Anyway, the Greyhound was awful. I never stopped to think that we'd be stopping at truck stops every two hours and that's it, so I never packed any food to take with me. We went to ONE restaurant and there were two buses full of people ordering food, ONE server and ONE cook. I didn't even have time to think of something to order, and plus everyone had half an hour. NOT possible.
There were a lot of other miserable things about the greyhound (including not being able to bathe or brush my teeth for a few days) and so it's never happening again. The train I can do, lol.