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General · 2nd March 2008
Barry Saxifrage
You can quickly and easily find the climate changing emissions from any past or proposed flight using the Atmosfair Calculator.

This calculator is top rated in several recent reports (see links below). Atmosfair gets the science right. They also provide lots of options to fine tune to your actual flight if you want that. Here are some facts and tips from their excellent website:

Air traffic contributes up to 10% to global warming

Air travel has the fastest growing impact on climate change. Air traffic has increased fivefold in just under 35 years.

One reason for this fast growth is that kerosene is exempted from mineral oil taxation.

The longer the flight, the more harmful it is.

Business class seats are wider so fewer people fit in a plane, increasing emissions per person. For example: a business class seat causes 40% more emissions between Vancouver and Toronto than an economy seat on the same plane.

Different aircraft type have different emissions. The calculator lets compare different types.

Only about five percent of humankind has ever flown. This minority, which flies more and more often, lives mostly in industrialized countries. The consequences of climate change, however, primarily affect those who have contributed little to it, i.e. people in developing countries.

Water vapour…cannot be compensated, because no one can remove clouds from the sky.

Without a doubt, the best thing for the environment is to get to your holiday destination with an earthbound vehicle. Before the Wright brothers, people got along fine without airplanes, and today too, there are real alternatives to flying:

Comparing Flying Climate Change Calculators:

Article originally published in the March/April 2008 edition of the Watershed Sentinel