Despite the fact that our governments have turned air travel into a delay-filled, clothes-shedding nightmare, flying is still the most convenient way to get from point A to point B. In fact, many people have no choice—distances are simply too large and alternative too few. But air travel is not the future. It simply can't be.
Though estimates vary, flying creates more greenhouse emissions per passenger mile than almost any other form of transport. The Eurostar Consortium, for example, estimates that their emissions per passenger mile are 1/10 that of an equivalent plane flight. Now the Eurostar runs at near capacity, but no matter how you slice it, air travel is problematic. Check out this chart:
So where does this leave countries like the US, countries that lack well developed alternatives to air travel? Unfortunately in the position of playing catch up. We need to begin upgrading our rail systems, and we need to do it right-f*cking-now! More high-speed corridors? Yes. Infrastructure to support work and life during longer cross-country trips? Hell yes! Otherwise...a latter-day Era of the Zeppelins may be the only way to drastically reduce emissions from long distance transport.
TAGS: Greenhouse gases, Emissions, Transport, Environment