Holidays and Carbon Footprints

As Britain emerges out of lockdown and life gets back to normal, Climate Action Wendover reviewed recent research published by the magazine nature to understand what impact the global pandemic has had on carbon emissions.

After rising steadily for decades, global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 6.4%, or 2.3 billion tonnes, in 2020, due to many parts of the world coming to a forced standstill and economies shutting down. Unsurprisingly, the biggest dip in carbon emissions was from February to May 2020, before steadily rising again to reach pre-pandemic levels by December 2020.

The pandemic has provided a unique lens on the challenge that lies ahead for nations committed to fighting climate change. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that the world would need to cut carbon emissions by 7.6% per year for the next decade to prevent the globe from warming more than 1.5 °C above pre-industrial level.

As we prepare to head off on a well-earned summer holiday, let’s take a moment to consider the impact we will have travelling and staying at our holiday destination. A return trip from Wendover by a medium sized petrol car to popular destinations such as Newquay or Windermere emits 345kg CO2 per car. However, this is considerably less than a family of four flying return economy from London to Faro in Portugal which would emit 2110kg CO2.

Everything we do releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere but there are a number of carbon offsetting schemes such as that fund renewable energy and forest projects, helping us to reverse the impact of our consumption and become carbon neutral.

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