ICCT in the media

Is Flying Home for the Holidays Bad for the Planet?

(New York Times, 11/23/2021)

Aviation makes up less than 3 percent of global carbon emissions. But for frequent fliers, it’s the biggest slice of our so-called personal carbon footprint. In 2018, just 1 percent of the world’s population accounted for more than half of aviation-related carbon emissions. Almost 90 percent of the global population did not fly at all that year. About half of all Americans didn’t take a single flight in 2017. But a small group of “super-emitters” took six trips or more and were responsible for about two-thirds of flights. That math has led a growing number of people, especially in Europe, to swear off flying altogether and push others to do the same. Flight shame, or flygskam as they call it in Sweden, is spreading… Picking the most fuel-efficient tickets can sharply reduce your carbon footprint without much sacrifice. One working paper by the International Council on Clean Transportation, subtitled “The Case for Emissions Disclosure,” found that choosing the least-polluting itinerary on a route could emit 63 percent less CO2 than the most-polluting option, and 22 percent less than the average flight.