Is jet-setting compatible with a safe climate?
I joined the "slow travel" movement about six years ago when I quit flying.
Jet travel lost its appeal for me when I realized the oversized climate damage caused by jet travel coupled with the industry's refusal to do anything meaningful about it. Jet travel gave me a burden of complicity in our climate crisis that I didn't enjoy. Below I present the charts and facts that led me to take action. Hopefully these will enable you to decide for yourself how big a problem it is and what should be done about it.
One of the most persistent myths I hear when I talk to people about jet pollution is the notion that the airline industry would have to cut flights to reduce their total climate damage. But that isn't true.
The industry has identified many efficiencies that would allow them to reduce their total climate damage while still increasing flights. A UK government study I cover below shows this to be the case. But the industry insists on increasing flights much faster, regardless of the climate damage this causes.
So far, the lack of pressure from customers and politicians has allowed this industry to keep their massive climate pollution completely unregulated and surging past dangerous levels.
I understand the benefits of flying as much as the next person. I flew growing up. I felt entitled to it and reliant on it. Recently, I've turned down a dozen incredibly tempting offers to play in soccer tournaments around the world, including one against a Chelsea FC masters team on their grounds in London. And I have family I'm very close to that I haven't visited because they now live in England. I miss going to lovely Hawaii for winter sun. I'm finally at an age where I have both the time and the means to fly regularly.
But, barring a true emergency, I plan to continue boycotting jet travel and I have no regrets about this decision. Here are the three main reasons why.