Press "Enter" to skip to content

The planet can not afford us to fly everywhere

Who can fly – and who can not?

A heated debate has flared up that our constant desire to see the world paradoxically contributes to destroying it. But no matter who flies, the planet will not be able to afford our trips by airplane.

How big is the individual’s responsibility in relation to the elites who cross the atmosphere with a much higher frequency – does not everyone have the right to a flight from time to time?

Yes, everyone has the right to throw a battery in the woods?

According to the IPCC, aviation globally accounts for about 2-3 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions. If the emissions of water vapour and nitrogen oxides at high altitudes are also taken into account, the climate impact will be twice as great.

But really, it’s much worse than that. The fridge magnet that you bought on your trip must also be pushed into the equation.

The total emissions from tourism make up eight percent of all global carbon dioxide emissions, according to a group of researchers published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change. They included the rubbish – transport, housing, food, beverages, clothing, souvenirs and cosmetics – when carbon dioxide flows from 160 countries were identified.

The researchers’ forecast was that carbon dioxide emissions from tourism will have increased from 2.9 billion tonnes in 2009, to 6.5 billion tonnes in 2025 (a time that can of course be postponed due to the pandemic.)

Who really are “we”?

The notion that there are no major problems in continuing to go on flight holidays contains a number of interesting complications.

Who can fly – and who can not?

For example, the class problem. The class question can not trump the climate. The climate does not care who flies – every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted or not emitted is counted.

But ordinary people should not be ashamed of a trip to the sun, it has been hot in the debate. But who are ordinary people? Who really are “we”?

80 percent of the planet’s inhabitants have never been on a plane. If every human on earth made a long-haul flight a year, emissions would far exceed the United States’ total carbon dioxide emissions.

Can the planet afford this?

It does not seem so.

Everyone becomes complicit

As we continue to do climate-damaging things, even if on a smaller scale than many others, we also continue to legitimize a system that many, after all, realize is unsustainable.

That is what makes the magnitude of the problem so enormous – as embedded in a mafia-like structure, we are made accomplices. And are we a little guilty – then who are we to accuse and make demands? To break us loose?

A study in Science 2018 showed that a critical threshold is passed when the size of a committed minority reaches approximately 25 percent of the population. At that time, social habits and conventions can change in a single stroke, we can abruptly stop what we “always” have done and begin to see what we saw as impossible as something completely obvious.

Extensive opinion systems can break up at a dizzying speed.

This is the crucial point: Of course, structures must change, but for political decisions to be accepted, they must be rooted in the people. And that change begins – as always – with the individual.

The change has not begun

The ongoing climate crisis presents us with breathtaking challenges. A radical change in how we relate to our surroundings and to our lifestyle needs to become a reality if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for the planet.

The time is too short to screw up the margins, but the distances between words and deeds are large. The proportion of fossil fuels for world energy production is still over 80 percent – this has been the case since the 1960s. In fact, the transition has not really begun – global demand for electricity is growing at a faster pace than renewable energy can deliver.

We are balancing on a knife-edge: Without sharp emission reductions, we will pass the 1.5-degree limit as early as the next decade, yes, or worse than that: According to a new report, there is a 50 percent risk that the 1.5-degree limit will be exceeded sometime within the next five years. , when the El Niño weather phenomenon returns.

The future is apparently already here. It is in this perspective that the individual’s possible shame for his flight must be put.

Antarctica risks melting

What are the bets we make over the roulette table while the ball is spinning?

Yes, at 1.5 degrees, a third of the Himalayan glaciers will have melted away by the end of the century.

At two degrees, Antarctica risks melting in a way that in the long run raises sea levels by 2.5 meters, with the loss of most of the world’s coastal cities as a result.

An analysis from Airbus made before the outbreak of the pandemic showed that 37,000 new aircraft will be needed by 2037 when the Asian market in particular is gaining momentum. How the new, more “sustainable” aviation fuels, called SAF (sustainable aviation fuels), will be able to reduce and eventually eliminate emissions, is shrouded in obscurity.

Actually, it’s pretty simple:

A completely new study shows that flying will contribute 0.1 degrees to warming by 2050. Half is due to the emissions that have occurred until today, half is what is to come.

Do we want to contribute to this?

One Comment

  1. […] No emissions from food, consumption, passenger traffic, transport, entertainment, housing or public services can be accommodated when aviation consumes the small space we have in our carbon budget. Each carbon atom from these emissions then drives the collapse. […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: