“Is flight shaming the next climate change conversation?”
Legendary British documentary film-maker and conservationist Sir David Attenborough says air travel should be more expensive to help tackle climate change. It is extraordinarily cheap now. While most of us will not feel major effects for several years, he says “the problems in 20, 30 years are really major problems that are going to cause great social unrest and great changes in the way we eat and how we live.” How we currently live in the developed world is very much dependent on cheap air travel, which people have come to expect almost as of right. IATA expects a 4.6% increase in the number of air tickets sold this year, compared to last. Campaigners say it’s time we thought more about how often we fly. Tim Johnson, director of AEF, said “[People] may start recycling plastics and try and turn down the thermostats in their homes, but actually, all those savings could be wiped out in one go by taking even one short-haul flight.” Johnson says the air travel industry is starting to realise it needs to act if it is to be part of the solution in reducing emissions, and its awareness (and worry) that public opinion may slowly start changing, as realisation of the extent of aviation’s climate impact grows. People need to start making informed choices about their travel carbon impact.