We all know flying is bad for the climate. But how bad is it really? One person travelling in a full airplane causes a similar amount of CO2 emissions as one person travelling the same distance alone in a car [1,2,8]. Longer flights are more efficient per kilometer than shorter flights . Clearly, flights are usually over a much larger distance than car journeys, meaning the emissions per trip are generally much greater.
But there’s a bigger problem: CO2 is only responsible for part of the warming caused by airplanes [3,9]. Contrails, the white clouds that planes leave behind them keep heat in the atmosphere . The clouds are too thin to reflect much sunlight, but there are tiny ice crystals in them that trap heat . The combined effect of all the contrails produced since the first airplanes flew is bigger than the effect of all CO2 emissions ever produced by planes .
Scientists are researching sustainable fuels that might improve the situation [5,6]. One day our planes may run on fuel made by algae – tiny plant-like organisms that live in water . In the meantime, the best way to reduce emissions from flights is to not fly ! If you do fly, donate money to “carbon offsetting” schemes that fund projects that help tackle climate change [e.g. 10,11].
 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231018307295 About 170g CO2e/km for diesel and petrol cars in 2015
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