Changing flying habits

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

From The  Tony Blair Institute for Global Change came a report which suggested what might have to be achieved to meet a net zero goal in carbon emissions within the deadlines that have been accepted by the government.

Will we reduce the amount of flying we do?

Some of the dates are only nine and fourteen years away which, in times of planning, is a short time. Net zero is to be reached in 29 years’ time.

The part of the report that most media concentrated on was about flying and that the report suggested that “we need to reduce average kilometres travelled per person by plane by a maximum of around 6 per cent between 2019 and 2035.”

Will this be sufficient if the goal is to be reached?

Not being a climate scientist, I cannot say but it seems to me that 6% doesn’t sound enough given the huge rise in flying that has occurred over the last decade.

Nonetheless with the development of electric and hydrogen based planes, the use of biofuels as part of the aviation fuel mix and more economic planes, a 6% cut seems very achievable.

The report also says that there will need to be “significant behavioural changes from consumers (and voters) across the country.”

That I take to mean that we will have to want to fly less, we will have to drive less (unless we all have electric cars) to use public transport more and to give up gas and fossil fuel heating.

But in terms of aviation we can go more. We can end short-haul flights where public transport can achieve city-to-city centre travel in much the same time as public transport.

The success of Eurostar in linking London with Paris and Brussels in a few hours has reduced the number of flights when compared to before the link opened so change can be brought about.

Where growth has boomed quickly has been in leisure travel. Whilst Zoom calls have helped reduce the number of business people flying, you can’t use virtual reality to replicate an overseas holiday.

That is where the cuts may have to come if the report is correct in its forecasting.

Is the answer flying closer to home, using another mode of transport, or limiting ourselves to fewer overseas breaks?  

That is for each of us to decide how we travel in the future.

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