carbon emissions

10 things you need to know about carbon emissions

Want the quick and easy low-down on carbon emissions? Read on.

  1. Short haul plane travel is the worst for carbon emissions because of the amount of fuel used in take off and landing. Planes also emit carbon dioxide directly into the earth’s upper atmosphere, making it especially harmful. The longer the trip, the better the overall efficiency, especially in new aircraft.
  2. Solo auto travel is the worst overall, even taking into consideration fuel efficiency. The only caveat to this is driving an electric vehicle that is charged using 100% renewable energy – more info on that here.
  3. Buses are the most efficient form of travel (provided the bus is full).
  4. Trains are second to buses. They use roughly 50 per cent less fuel per passenger than planes for distances under around 1000km. Once you get over this distance, trains and planes become comparable for carbon emissions.
  5. You can calculate the carbon emissions of your travel here. You can voluntarily offset your carbon emissions here. Some airlines have reputable carbon offset programs including Virgin and Qantas.
  6. Last year, the world emitted an estimated 37 billion tonnes of carbon, according to World Resources Institute research. Here’s an article this explains that further .
  7. In order to offset this, we would need to plant five billion trees every single year, taking into account the amount of time it takes a tree to grow and the fact that a single tree can sequester seven tonnes of carbon in its lifespan. Incidentally, oak is the genus with the most carbon absorbing species. Oaks are also the best at providing bushfire protection as they hold a lot of moisture in their trunks.
  8. A really interesting alternative to trees is seaweed because of its fast growth rate. Researchers have estimated that if nine per cent of the world’s ocean surface were used for seaweed farming, we would be removing 53 billion tonnes of CO2from the atmosphere. More on that here.
  9. So what happens if we don’t stop emitting this much carbon? Here’s a pretty decent summary.
  10. Here’s what is currently happening in Australia in relation to climate change.

If you want to know how to travel more sustainably, click here.

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