Google Flights and carbon emissions
Have you seen the recent changes to the flight search feature on Google Flights?
Google Flights, an online flight booking search service that makes it easy to purchase airline tickets through third-party providers, has now added the carbon impact of a flight report to its search results. This new change, which is perhaps only the first step in the fight for greater accountability of travelers regarding their carbon footprint, is nonetheless important.
It clearly signals the least carbon-emitting options and, in doing so, highlights the often lower impact of direct flights. For example, if you travel from London to New York with Austrian on our example search, you will notice that this may be the cheapest option, but it is also the one with the greatest environmental impact. . This is undoubtedly due in large part to his stopover in Vienna en route, resulting in an estimate of 1.11 t CO2 carbon emissions per passenger, as opposed to a more typical expected value of 761 kg of CO2. That’s a whopping 46% more. You can even sort your search results by CO2 emissions, just like you can by price, to find the most environmentally friendly way to fly.
Google uses emission estimates from the European Environment Agency (EEA) to calculate emissions. Different routes, different planes, fuel consumption, and the number of seats in each seat class will all play a role in the calculations. Emissions estimates are higher for Premium Economy, Business and First classes, as the seats in these sections take up more space. They will represent a larger share of the total flight emissions.
Having this information clearly displayed will hopefully make people think more about this issue and have a greater tendency to not only think about the cost and / or which airline they choose, but also to their likely carbon footprint. Such carbon reporting is likely to become more and more common, I think. This can only be a good thing – people will think more about their choices and maybe even how they can offset their carbon footprint, and similarly, airlines will have to adapt to this becoming increasingly a part of a passenger’s decision-making process when booking a flight. .
What do you think? Are you encouraged by this new feature? Or don’t you care?