The Carbon Column – Travel better

In this post I address travelling and how we can be better

Big Zero Report 2022

Travel better

I recently went to Hungary for a few days with some friends. I’ve always enjoyed travelling. Meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and opening my eyes to world. Over the past few years, I’ve become a lot more conscious of my air miles. Trying to travel abroad less and visit more places in the UK.

Having said that, I do believe travelling helps in many ways. It broadens our horizons; it provides us with new perspectives and give us a greater understanding of different cultures. It helps us improve our communication, become more creative and have a more positive attitude towards life and other people.

The learning from travelling can help our business lives as well. Communication is key in any business setting. Problems in business can arise from the lack of communication and can often be resolved with better communication.

I know I’ve been in situations where better communication could have helped.

Travel can bring many benefits but air travel is a very controversial topic when discussed in respect to global warming and climate change. Mass tourism also puts pressure on natural sources leading to water shortages and deforestation.

Air Travel

There were nearly 40 million domestic and international flights in 2019. Air travel is responsible for 2.5% of global carbon emissions and 1.9% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Air travel impacts our climate in other, more complicated ways which is why it is believed to drive 3.5% of our global warming.

Although it may seem like a small proportion of the total emissions, it presents a real problem as it is an industry that is hard to decarbonise. There are technologies to reduce emissions from other industries and other modes of transport, such as land transport. Whereas low-carbon technology is not available for air travel, even though there are concepts and plans to introduce low-carbon air travel in years to come.

Air travel requires energy-dense fuels to operate and is limited by space and weight, which is why electrification of air travel is not feasible. Making air travel low-carbon requires innovation in energy-dense liquid fuels.

There are some interesting projects focused on developing low carbon fuels, such as Westküste 100, translated to West Coast 100. A project to build green hydrogen to then produce climate-friendly aviation fuel. This is a partnership between many companies including EDF Germany and Ørsted.

There are other interesting projects in this space including Bio4A, flexJET and REWOFUEL. All focused on creating sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Better travel

It is difficult to prevent people from travelling which means aviation will continue to contribute to our global GHG emissions. There are also a very limited number of companies with the capability of making SAF.

However, there are things we as people and businesses can do to travel better. Whilst I was researching ways to travel more sustainably, I came across the company Greena World.

Greena World are focused on helping people travel more sustainably. It is a platform allowing people to book environmentally friendly accommodation, restaurants, and outdoor activities, whilst being rewarded for doing so.

Every hotel and restaurant part of the platform is given a Greena Index. A scientific index developed by researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Swansea. Hotels can compare their index to understand how they can improve their environmental and social impact.

For you and me, we can sign up and access this platform to make better travel decisions for ourselves and the businesses we work for.

Greena World’s mission is to reduce the negative impact of massive tourism by 50% in the next 10 years.

I understand travelling is controversial and we should all be addressing how much we travel. Asking ourselves, do I really need to travel here? If the answer is yes, then it is worth thinking about how it can be done in the best way.

This is where I think Greena World will help.

What do you think? Let me know.

If you have any thoughts on this or any other net zero topic, please email me or message me on LinkedIn.

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