High in the sky, heads in the sand

Here’s a calculator for working out the impact of your flights on the planet.P1000850

According to this calculator, a flight between Cape Town and Johannesburg – a frequent Incite trip – produces approximately 120 kg of carbon dioxide. A return trip would use 240 kg. But you can’t calculate the impact of flying by the mass of CO2 produced alone. One has to account for radiative forcing, which increases the climate impact of aviation by a factor of 2.7, according to the IPCC.

Bear in mind that to be properly sustainable, we should all be producing little more than one tonne of carbon dioxide annually.

Though the South African per capita average is around 9 tonnes a year, middle class folks probably use something closer to the 18 to 20 tonnes per person of people in the US or Australia. It seems that a single return trip to Johannesburg consumes most of our annual capacity for sustainably trashing the climate.

Estimates on the impact of flying do vary wildly. Climatecare allows you calculate your impact, and purchase offsets all at once.

So what’s your annual burden on the planet, in tons of aviation CO2, and how often do you buy offsets?

About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
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