The elephant in the lounge
Climate change is already here and we need to take drastic action all over the world. If you feel that you’re not helping things, but in fact contributing to emissions by far exceeding the quota that we probably need to meet, then it’s perfectly reasonable to have a guilty conscience.
Sure, you can say that aviation accounts for only 2–3% of all global emissions and that everyone could stop flying today and we still wouldn’t have solved the problem. It’s very easy to point the finger at others all the time though.
The argument I think is the strongest is the lack of other options. If you need to travel from A to B in a reasonable time, there are still no alternatives on most routes.
“Travel less!” they say, but for me travel is the last thing I’ll be cutting down on. It’s one of the most important things in my life. It gives me a perspective on the world and different cultures and it’s an unavoidable part of my job.
So what can you do if you want to ease your guilty conscience? Three things:
1. Choose an airline that’s climate-smart.
SAS, for example, uses the A320neo on many of its flights, an aircraft that produces 15–20% lower emissions than the standard A320 or Boeing 737 flown by many competitors.
2. Carbon offsetting.
There are several ways of doing this. One is to be a EuroBonus member and fly with SAS (as of the beginning of February, all flights booked using EuroBonus points are offset).
3. To make an even greater contribution, you could also do your own carbon offsetting.
There are lots of services on the market that provide this, but one I use is Trine. Trine invests in various solar energy projects in developing countries, where many people burn wood, coal or kerosene. It gives the local population access to more reliable, green energy, which will also be cheaper for them. What Trine does (with its customers’ help) is finance the investment. Your money is repaid a few years later and you can either withdraw it, along with a few percent profit, or reinvest it in the next project.
If, like me, you can’t stop flying, then make up for it in the most climate-friendly way you can.
Mars 22, 2019