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How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When You Fly

Flights are the main source of carbon emissions in your vacation footprint. Flying takes a lot of energy, which means releasing a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There’s just no way around it, creating the thrust necessary to push hundreds of thousands pound airplane to a very high distance above the earth, keep it there for a couple of hours and then bring it down safely takes a lot of jet fuel. There is currently no way to fly millions of people every day without burning lots of kerosene. Aircraft are becoming more fuel-efficient, but not quickly enough to offset the huge demand in growth. Electric planes are decades away, weighed down by batteries that can’t deliver nearly as much power as jet fuel. Burning jet fuel releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere and oceans. Greenhouse gases block heat from escaping from the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise just like in a greenhouse. Traveling has a big percentage in creating global greenhouse gas emissions, including air travel, hotels, food, and sundries. Humans have increased the earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration by more than a third over the past years. The extra carbon dioxide has caused the temperature to rise to levels that cannot be explained. None of this means people shouldn’t fly at all anymore, just that they should be thoughtful about it. Flying nonstop is a very good idea because it is much more energy efficient than flying multiple hops. That's because takeoffs and ascent require significantly more energy than cruising at altitude, so the fewer times you have to take off per trip, the better. From a scientific viewpoint, everything that’s below 600 miles, taking a train, a bus or driving is much more efficient, especially if you’ve got more than one person in the car. Also, the more your baggage weighs, the more the plane has to carry and the less energy efficient it is. So pack light.

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