The ongoing Paris climate talks have sparked a conversation about what concerned citizens can do about climate change. One answer provided by The New York Times: fly less.
“Perhaps the biggest single thing individuals can do on their own is to take fewer airplane trips… just one or two fewer plane rides a year can save as much in emissions as all the other actions combined.”
Source: Short Answers to Hard Climate Questions, by Justin Gillis (Tuesday, December 1, 2005)
Gillis’ piece appeared in the The Times’ weekly Science section. A second article later that week appeared more prominently on page A3 of the newspaper. It’s called The Upshot column (Thursday, December 3, 2015), written by Josh Katz and Jennifer Daniel
Under the headline, “What You Can Do about Climate Change,” they wrote what they called seven simple guidelines on how your choices today affect the climate tomorrow. Among them is this one, titled “Flying is bad…
“Remember that annual carbon budget? One round-trip flight between New York and Los Angeles, and it’s all gone. Flyers can reduce their footprint somewhat by traveling coach… on average, a first-class seat is 2 1/2 times more detrimental to the environment and economy…”
(Emphases added in both cases).
The reason: aircraft emissions poison the Earth’s atmosphere.
Aircraft emissions also poison people. Research shows aircraft pollution creates carcinogens less than 2.5 microns, implicated in asthma, lung diseases, learning deficits, cardiac issues, even autism.
Fly less. It’s better for people and for our planet.