Are you completely confused by the millions of climate change statements?
This is what you should keep in mind. One return long-haul flight in economy generates as much CO2s per person as an entire 4-people family in a year in Sub-Saharan Africa. A weekend away for 2 including flights, hotels and food is more CO2 -intensive than the average emissions per capita in Bangladesh (WB stats).
Travel can be your single largest source of CO2 emissions at an individual level. For a traveler that tried to have a positive travel impact, this could be the single most important reason to stop traveling by plane.
There are many internet-based resources that help you calculate your travel emissions, including myclimate.org and carbonfootprint.com. While you can become vegan, put solar panels on your roof, swap your car with an electrical vehicle, or just walk, cycle or use public transport, it is hard to find an alternative for travel. You can always stay at home or take the train from Paris to Beijing or the boat from London to New York. This is an emerging trend in responsible travel known as Slow Travel. It aim to minimize the environmental travel impact while enhancing the traveler’s experience.
However, if you still want to take the plane selectively and do something about your emissions here is a simple rule of thumb to follow. Compensate your emissions with Ocean and Forest conservation projects. These are the only resources we have on Earth today to capture and store CO2, plus they provide us with many other virtually free benefits!
Avoid all other forms of carbon off-sets. They simply channel your money to initiatives aiming to make industries and infrastructure “cleaner”, such as putting filters on incineration plants, giving cookers to energy-deprived populations and making buildings more energy efficient. In a nutshell, your money will help other people and organisations emit less, but it will not compensate your emissions. And very often these projects have other sources of financing, such as public funds, venture capital, NGOs and donations.