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Fly Less

Fly Less

Flying is a major source of carbon pollution. Not everyone has the privilege of flying, but if you do, taking a few less flights is one of the best ways to dramatically reduce your carbon pollution.

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Why

Choosing to fly less can reduce your carbon pollution by up to 50% each year. Even avoiding one long distance return flight per year could save up to 8.8 tonnes of CO2 – that’s more than the annual emissions of the average UK resident. Not only that, it sends a signal to politicians and businesses that people around the world want to find alternatives to carbon intensive travel.

Flying less has other benefits too. Less flying can mean less risk of DVT, less exposure to germs, and holidays without the hassle of security queues, uncomfortable seats and long waits.

How

Traveling for fun

Try looking for locations closer to home. Or if you need to travel, try to use other forms of transport (like trains, ferries and electric vehicles) that get you there with much less carbon pollution.

Travelling for business

Consider if your flight can be replaced with a video call. Or if you’re flying each week, break the habit and go for occasional, longer trips instead.

References

Carbon emissions of London-Auckland premium economy return flight:
Carbon Footprint

Health risks of flying:
NHS, Fit For Travel

Carbon calculations:

Travel emissions based on Defra Conversion Factors 2019, using Well-to-Tank data and Radiative Forcing.

Table 40 in Defra’s Conversion Factors Methodology gives the average distances for the flights they class as domestic, short, and long haul. In order to make this simpler for users, we wanted to convert kilometers flown into flight times. We used airline schedules to identify the flight time of journeys of roughly the same distance as Defra’s average, as detailed below:

  • Domestic: 379 km (less than 2 hours) (comparison: Luton to Newcastle, 1 hr 10 mins)
  • Short haul: 1,432 km (2 - 4 hours) (comparison: Amsterdam to Bilbao, 2 hours 15 mins)
  • Long-haul: 4,381 km (more than 4 hours) (comparison: Seattle to Philadelphia, 5 hours 15 mins)