Fight shaming and changing your own habits
Late last year, Google added a new feature to their flight search which allows users to see the emission estimates of the journeys that they’re looking into. Not only does Google now display specific carbon emissions data for almost every itinerary, but where possible will also show seat specific carbon emissions. Naturally, seats in premium and more so, first and business class, emit more emissions because they take up more space on the plane. Before this, carbon emissions for flights have been hard to find, apart from one anomaly, KLM, who have been displaying their carbon estimates to customers since 2008. Allowing users to factor in carbon emissions into their decisions, alongside timings and costs is a big step in increasing sustainability for worldwide travel.
Google calculates these emissions using a combination of data from the European Environmental Agency as well as flight specific information provided by airlines such as aircraft type, age and number of seats. There are so many factors that affect the carbon emissions of a journey that are separate to the obvious which is the length of travel. To name a few: aircraft model, configuration, speed and altitude.
This update to Google Flights is just one of the many ways we’re helping people make sustainable choices in their everyday lives.Richard Holden, Vice President of travel products for Google
If you’ve been reading all our blogs, you’ll know that this year we’ve been building our own extensive carbon calculator for both enterprises and individuals. We’ve noticed that no matter how much effort you put into making sustainable choices, just one flight per year can completely skyrocket your carbon footprint; so it’s really important that this kind of information is becoming more widely available to consumers. With this information, not only might a consumer choose to take an eco-friendlier aircraft or sit in economy rather than business, it might sway them to take another means of transport entirely.
Feeling accountable for your carbon footprint
The flight shame movement is about feeling accountable for your carbon footprint – but it is also about rediscovering the joy of slow travel, writes climate journalist Jocelyn Timperley. The movement began in Sweden and is named ‘flygskam’. The term speaks of the guilt of taking flights at a time where the world needs to drastically cut its greenhouse gas emissions. Others have referred to it as the embarrassment of flying despite being environmentally ‘woke’. However, it’s important to note that despite its name, the movement is less about shaming others, and more about changing your own habits. For example, by taking the train from London to Paris instead of flying, you can save up to 90% in carbon emissions! It’s about revelling in the slow, deliberate journeys that don’t necessarily need to be done via plane. Budget airlines may always seem like the cheapest and easiest options, but after the added hidden costs of reserving your seat and checking in luggage, there’s not much difference in cost. Train travel also tends to be much more stress free.
At eco-shaper, we drive action on climate change and streamline carbon footprinting. For example, we can help calculate emissions across the entire ecosystem that companies work across and produce automated reporting based on outcomes. It’s like Xero, for sustainability. Contact us to be part of our research group on