Plane ignorance

| 13th September 2019
An airplane
London mayor Boris Johnson has backed plans to double the number of flights from London City Airport
Most airlines don't provide the information about carbon pollution that customers are looking for, new polling shows.

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Almost two thirds of people want to know about a flight's carbon pollution when they search online, new polling released today shows

Friends of the Earth is calling for all airlines to make a flight’s carbon pollution public before a customer books so that an informed choice about how to travel can be made.

People are thinking much more about their personal actions in connection to climate change so it’s right that companies do better at showing the climate impact of what they sell.

With long-haul flights creating more carbon emissions than that produced by the average person in dozens of countries in an entire year, companies that market to travellers should be clearer about the impact of their services.

Greener choices

Recent research showed even a short return flight from London to Edinburgh pumps out more carbon dioxide (CO2) than the mean annual emissions of a person living in Uganda or Somalia.

But, with airlines advertising to us all the time, and given the attractiveness of travel, isn’t it time we were able to make informed decision about the cost?

Aaron Kiely, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Major train websites show carbon pollution so why can’t airlines do the same?

"Now the full scale of the climate emergency is known we have decisions to make about how we live our lives, and it’s reasonable to want to make changes based on a full picture – industry should be clearer and more up-front. This is what people also want as this polling shows.

“Giving people more information about the journeys they take can prompt them to make greener choices about their travel – maybe even deciding against that long-haul break for just a few days or look at a train instead to assess the cost, in pounds and carbon, of a journey.”

We can arrive at better decisions about how we spend our time, our money, and how we reconcile the pollution generated, if we have more information – information that all industries should publish.

This Author 

Marianne Brooker is The Ecologist's content editor. This article is based on a press release from Friends of the Earth. 

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