You may have heard of the Swedish word ‘flygskam’. This translates in English to ‘Flight Shame’.
Flight Shame means 23% of Swedes have not flown in the past year to reduce their impact on the environment.
Why is there Flight Shame?
Because the emissions from flying are so much higher than alternatives.
Methods of calculation vary, but the figures below come from the Anthesis Group (formerly known as Best Foot Forward). They have won a Queens Award for Enterprise and among their projects helped London 2012 avoid 400,000 tonnes of carbon to be the greenest Olympic Games ever.
The fact is that flying to the Alps generates 6-7 times as much carbon as travelling by train.
Flying is a moral issue
You might consider there’s a moral issue too. A short haul flight on its own is equivalent to the entire emissions in a year as someone living in 13 countries across the world.
And the impact of a long-haul flight is even more significant: over 1200 tonnes of CO2
Will flying less make a difference?
There are a lot of ways of calculating CO2 per person.
Most estimates suggest the CO2 per capita in the UK is 6-8 tonnes. That figure is actually coming down the whole time, mainly due to how we source power in the UK, meaning the flights you take become even more important relatively.
But let’s look at some numbers:
If you could make a change in your business that would make this much difference to your bottom line you would do it.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Aviation’s carbon footprint has grown by 20% in Europe since 2005. It’s increasing at an average of 4% annually. If it were a country, aviation would be the sixth-largest carbon polluter in the world, eclipsing Germany.
Aviation currently accounts for about 2.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. On a global level there are many other ways we can reduce carbon emissions, but as an individual reducing the number of flights you take will make the biggest difference in the shortest period of time.