US domestic travelers can choose low-emission flights – if data is available | airline emissions

Commercial aviation is a true carbon bomb, as emissions from commercial aviation are increasing rapidly and are expected to triple by 2050, which could account for about a quarter of the world’s carbon balance. is.

But now, new research shows how to reduce emissions while flying by plane if people can choose the most carbon-friendly route.

research paper We considered potential ways to reduce the burden of flight. Researchers at the International Council on Clean Transportation analyzed carbon dioxide emissions from the 20 most popular US domestic air routes in 2019. We found that the lowest-emission itinerary on the route produced an average of 63% less carbon dioxide than the highest-emission route. 22% less than the option and root mean.

“The large emission gap represents a potentially significant climatic advantage in encouraging consumers to choose the flight with the lowest emissions,” the author writes. The problem is that it is not always easy to determine which route has the lowest emissions.

In general, direct flights and flights on new aircraft help consumers choose low-emission flights, but not always, researchers say. Other variables such as load factor and seating composition also affect the carbon strength of the trip. Single-aisle, mainline aircraft, or turboprop aircraft typically emit less than regional jets, but relative airline fuel efficiency performance depends on the route.

While some airlines are more fuel efficient than others, the treatise shows that no airline operated low-emission flights on all routes in 2019. Therefore, reporting emissions by itinerary helps guide consumer decisions, they say.

Low carbon does not have to mean that it is more expensive. With three-quarters of popular routes, the least-emission flights are also one of the cheapest, and consumers can save up to 55% on emissions by choosing a ticket from the 25 cheapest. increase. Percentage of fare. However, it can force the general public in flight to let go of their favorite airline brand. For people flying on a single airline, especially a full-service legacy airline, choosing the least-emission itinerary can be difficult.

Some travel search engines, such as Google Flight, Kayak and Skyscanner, have introduced “eco-flight filters” on their platforms. This will label the flight with less than average emissions in all search results, but in absolute CO2 Emissions for each itinerary are not currently displayed. Therefore, publishing emission data allows consumers to make informed decisions.

Researchers say flight-level emission data is the key to empowering consumers to reward airlines to invest in fuel efficiency and more sustainable aviation fuel. Policy makers can assist by requiring airlines to disclose per-flight emissions and auditing to ensure the accuracy of reported data. “Once installed, climate-based consumer choices can accelerate the decarbonization of air travel,” the researchers write.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/22/airlines-us-travelers-low-emissions-pollution US domestic travelers can choose low-emission flights – if data is available | airline emissions

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