Climate: only 4% of air travel is compensated

Only 4% of air travel is subject to climate compensation, travelers being reluctant to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Swiss study of more than 63,000 reservations. These results clearly show “that it is quite insufficient to rely on voluntary measures to try to achieve climate protection objectives”, indicates Sebastian Berger, co-author of this study at the Institute of Sociology of the University of Bern, quoted Wednesday in a press release from the latter. International air traffic is responsible for 2.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In cooperation with a Swiss airline, the researchers analyzed a total of 63,250 bookings made between August 2019 and October 2020. These were mainly European or extra-European flights involving holidaymakers. → Read also: Climate: Public subsidies contribute to the destruction of the planet Results: only 4% of these flights were subject to climate compensation via a supplement on the price of the ticket. The average of these voluntary payments is therefore one franc per tonne of CO2 emitted, the researchers calculated. However, in December 2021, the price on the European emissions market was 90 euros per tonne, and the real costs could even be much higher. The willingness of passengers to pay voluntarily to reduce their carbon footprint in this sector is therefore “close to zero”, underline the authors. Some studies showing better results are hypothetical studies where travelers were asked if they would be willing to put their hands in the wallet, further specifies the Swiss alma mater. A complementary study showed that people who requested a vegetarian meal on board the plane were nearly three times more likely to voluntarily offset their emissions. Those who opt for priority check-in or other extras are also more likely to do so. The fact remains that “three times very little, that is still very little”, commented Professor Berger, interviewed by the Swiss press agency Keystone-ATS. These results, deemed “not really surprising”, show that “investments in climate protection are only implemented if we can be sure that everyone participates”, according to Sebastian Berger. (With MAP)