What is the real price of cheap air travel?
“The arguments against flying are compelling. … A return flight to Australia equals the emissions of three average cars for a year. Fly from London to Edinburgh for the weekend and you produce 193kg of CO2, eight times the 23.8kg you produce by taking the train. Moreover, the pollution is released at an altitude where its effect on climate change is more than double that on the ground.
More frightening is the boom in the number of people flying, fuelled by cheap flights with carriers such as Ryanair and Easyjet. In 1970, British airports were used by 32 million people. In 2004, the figure was 216 million. In 2030, according to government forecasts, it will be around 500 million. The trouble is that the people most likely to be aware of these figures, are the ones who probably enjoy popping over to Europe for a weekend. It makes for a large amount of guilt, and a lot of denial. ”
This article almost matches the course of my thinking about cheap flights. At first I was off-setting flights by donating to Future Forests to have trees planted, but I’ve come to realise I just can’t justify taking so many short-haul flights.
On the other hand, I hope I’ll be taking longer trips and savour them more, or travel more by train. I love train travel anyway – the trip Min and I are planning to Ukraine, Moldova and Romania is designed around the European rail guide.