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Tyndall Manchester

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Changes in flying habits caused by COVID-19 present opportunities for cutting CO2 emissions

18 March 2021

In a commentary published by the London School of Economics, Alice Larkin and Maria Sharmina discuss practical ways to reduce air travel.

aircraft at sunset

The commentary draws on their recent paper about decarbonising the critical sectors of aviation, shipping, road freight and industry to limit warming to 1.5–2°C. During the pandemic, foregoing flying has become normal for people who would usually fly more than once a year. Many have realised that dramatic lifestyle changes are feasible, and in some cases even desirable. By the time it becomes logistically easier to fly again, we need to encourage and incentivise these new habits and preferences so as to keep emission trends on a downward trajectory. The drastic drop in air traffic as a result of COVID-19 is a huge opportunity for policy planning, sustained behavioural change, and research. It shows that reducing air travel is not necessarily a bad thing and that the benefits in terms of cutting CO2 emissions are enormous.

To cut emissions rapidly in aviation, the commentary calls for changes in the stories we tell, what works at work, and how to make alternatives to flying cheaper and more enjoyable. Read the full commentary at the link below:

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