" For the hundreds of climate-change activists who have camped out near Heathrow Airport for the past week, there is only one way to reduce the carbon footprint of aircraft: Stop flying so much. "
Must we quit flying to save the planet? the article published yesterday on the Seattle Time, by Mark Rice-Oxley is a must-read for all of us, especially those whose wallet sports one or more Gold/Platinum/Whatever-metal frequent flyer card.
Here's the conclusion :
[He noted that] 45 percent of all flights in Europe are less than 310 miles. "The French and Germans are showing that if you invest in good railways, you can persuade people to travel by rail and not by air."
But it's not only about leisure travel. Business travel makes up, by some estimates, 40 to 50 percent of all air travel. One element of the British OMEGA project is a study that looks at how business can reduce its aviation carbon footprint.
Keith Mason, who is leading the study, said it involves persuading businesses to measure the carbon they consume, choose flights that are not just the cheapest but are least environmentally damaging, use rail when possible and make greater use of videoconferencing and Internet solutions.
"We are aiming to come up with a range of practical tools that will help companies start managing their carbon consumption," Mason said. He noted that one company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, has introduced an internal "carbon budget" whereby its 1,000 top travelers must reduce their CO2 footprint by 20 percent.
Some experts think similar personal carbon budgets — rationing — may be the solution.
"It's too late for voluntary mechanisms," Anderson said. "Carbon allowances are the only fair way to deal with this."
I wonder if I would still be able to collect 150 boarding passes in a year, as I did back in 2000.
On the other hand, flying every two days or so is exhausting - ask your captain the next time you get in an airplane. And opportunities to create new businesses out of this new situation (i.e. Global Warming) are tremendous...