A culture of immediacy, tourism and consumerism has led to an unprecedented surge in air travel. Most of us have hopped on a plane, only to arrive in another culture a couple of hours later and have thought nothing of it. Airiine travel is one area where individual choices can have a great impact on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
Not only does air travel emit a huge amount of GHG emissions per passenger, it is emitted into the upper levels of the atmosphere. It is widely accepted that this does at least twice as much damage than the equivalent emissions at ground level.
In Europe, ground travel is almost always a good alternative option. For example a 6-hour trip from Amsterdam to London via the Eurostar train emits 1/10 of the C02 emissions compared to flying. The time difference is around 2 hours when one counts security and transport to and from Schiphol. Flying can be cheaper – an economic distortion wrought by fossil fuel subsidies – but when one considers the implications of additional GHG’s in the atmosphere, is it worth it?
Schiphol represents a case where its business model is further imperilling its existence. Climate change will affect operations because it sits on a hydrologically-complicated and fragile area. Extremes of both increased precipitation and drought, as well as rising sea levels brought about by climate change, will undoubtedly force changes in the use and
design of the Schiphol region in the decades ahead.