Cheap flights and climate change – do we want a lot?


What can be done about this increasingly worrying contribution to global warming?

The most important options to reduce aircraft carbon dioxide emissions are:

Changes in aircraft and engine technology; Use of alternative fuels, such as biofuels (sustainable production); Organizational and operational measures such as improvements in air traffic management; Economic measures such as including aircraft emissions in emissions trading plans.

However, as Giovanni Pisigniani, Director of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said, “Emission trading plans only make sense with effective infrastructure. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that there is 12% of inefficiency in air traffic management at the level of The world: We produce up to 73 million tons of carbon emissions every year by planes that fly ineffectively due to air traffic management restrictions. ” **

On a personal level, we can ask ourselves especially in the developed world: “Do we really need to fly a lot?” The use of telecommuting, teleconferencing and videoconferencing can be greatly increased for work planning and meetings. Couldn’t the development of land and air transport infrastructures be better balanced against the real needs of individuals and companies? Trains can connect cities better and cheaper for example in Europe, where prices are no longer competitive with the prices of many flights (and night train services have been reduced if not canceled).

Lifestyles are important because if millions want to get a cheap weekend at relatively nearby tourist spots, many flights are needed to fulfill their desires, and so a lot of pollution is generated. Also, our per capita emissions can also be reduced by limiting “surplus” trips, by slowing our lives and enjoying more local attractions in our spare time. Who do you know? We can discover the “stranger” in our neighborhoods without flying to the Caribbean Sea …

Moreover, the relationship between costs and environmental externalities (i.e. costs not included in the economy such as health damages due to pollution) must also be considered: there are higher marginal effects for short-haul flights that must be taken into account in the prices paid by passengers.

All of these political, technological and personal options are some good examples that developing countries need to follow the western community of the twenty-first century on a new sustainable path that looks like the only good alternative forward.