Sustainable Energy

Would you fly less to tackle climate change? 2 in 3 Brits would

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
Anthony Kay | Getty Images

Six out of 10 Britons not already doing so would be willing to fly less in the next year to tackle climate change, according to a new poll for environmental charity WWF.

The poll also found that 67 percent of travellers would be happy to pay in order to offset the environmental impact of their return flight in Europe. The WWF said that cutting out one return flight to Europe is roughly equivalent to driving 1,500 miles less in terms of carbon savings.

The WWF said that their findings would increase pressure on both governments and aviation industry leaders over the need for "climate solutions."

According to the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), aviation accounts for 12 percent of CO2 emissions from transport sources. In 2015, flights produced 781 million tonnes of CO2, ATAG says.

"The most straight-forward way to reduce emissions from aviation is to fly less, so it is encouraging that 60 percent of Britons are prepared to do just that," David Nussbaum, CEO of WWF-UK, said in a news release accompanying the report, which was released this morning.

"It suggests people are willing to turn away from flying in favor of rail and videoconferencing," he added, explaining that it was something both governments and industry should "take on board" during the International Civil Aviation Organization's World Aviation Forum in Montreal this week. Among other things, the forum will look at how to ensure "sufficient resources for sustainable aviation development."

The idea of paying to offset a journey was one that needed attention, according to Nussbaum.

"Paying for their pollution won't bankrupt airlines or their passengers," he said.

"Most people don't realise that it costs less than £5 ($6.47) per person to offset the CO2 from a European flight, even with high quality Gold Standard carbon credits, and yet two thirds are willing to pay that price," he added.

"This should give governments worldwide the confidence to sign up to an ambitious emissions reduction scheme from day one and set their airlines en-route to a sustainable future."

The poll was conducted by Populus, with 2,089 adults from its online panel interviewed.