Burning jet fuel creates a large -- and growing -- share of greenhouse gases. But there may still be ways to see the world without harming it.
"We could close every factory, lock away every car and turn off every light in the country," he writes in New Statesman about Britain's ambitious goals to cut carbon use, "but it won't halt global warming if we carry on taking planes as often as we do."
Lynas is referring to a report from the respected Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, which notes that if the UK's annual 12 percent rise in air travel continues until 2050, the resulting increase in carbon dioxide (a leading cause of the greenhouse effect) would overwhelm progress in every other sector. Indeed, factoring in the projected growth of air travel, carbon emissions would have to be reduced to zero in manufacturing, ground transportation and private households to meet the British government's 2050 green goals.
A picture of green transportation for the future would let us choose -- depending on our needs and the nature of our trips -- between clean-fuel cars, comfortable buses, fast trains and planes using less fuel and creating fewer emissions -- as well as the option for business travellers of not leaving home at all, and meeting instead by video conference.