Airplanes transport over 2.2 billion passengers a year but they are also a significant contributor to climate change, producing approximately 600 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. One transatlantic flight for a family of four creates more CO2 than that family generates domestically in an entire year. And while the benefits of the smaller planet that airline travel has created are immeasurable, can it be justified in light of the potentially life-damaging effects of climate change? And if we can’t justify it, are we capable of stopping? George Monbiot writes, “When it comes to flying, there seems to be no connection between intention and action. This is partly because the people who are most concerned about the inhabitants of other countries are often those who have traveled widely.”
This week on Sea Change Radio, the first part of our two-part series on air travel. We speak with two veterans of the airline industry to learn more about what steps airlines are taking to lessen the environmental impact of this revolutionary mode of transportation. First, host Alex Wise talks to David Swierenga, the former chief economist for the Air Transport Association and now an airline consultant in Texas. Next, Alex speaks with Bob McAdoo, Senior Research Analyst at Avondale Partners and previously the CEO of Vanguard Airlines and CFO at People Express Airlines.