It's common to hear criticism of our foreign holidays, and the global warming they might be
causing. It's less common to do a few sums to see if our holidays really are affecting the
temperature of the planet.
I had a look at the Boeing website and found out some things about Jumbo Jets.
A 747 typically weighs about 164 tonnes, empty. Its maximum take-off weight is 340 tonnes,
so for a really long flight, fuel plus passengers weigh as much as the plane itself - about 180 tonnes.
On a typical flight, with 500 people on board, and a 10 hour journey, 80 tonnes of fuel
will be used.
This means each person uses 80/500 tonnes of fuel - about a sixth of a ton.
For kerosene, one tonne of fuel produces about 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
So each passenger's fuel produces half a tonne of CO2.
This compares with an annual carbon dioxide "production" of about 4 tonnes for each man,
and child in Britain.
Another half tonne of CO2 is produced on the way back.
So a person's own "CO2 production" goes from 4 tonnes to 5 tonnes as a result
of a foreign holiday.
Nigel Deacon / Habitat21 website
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