Scientists who specialise in climate change take "significantly" more flights—an activity they believe contributes to global warming—than any other researchers, according to a new study.
Climate change researchers flew five times per year while their counterparts flew only four times annually, the study, carried out by a research centre based at Cardiff University, found.
Even taking into account that climate change researchers did more fieldwork, they still flew more than the others. And the more senior in their field they were, the more flying they did, according to the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST).
The researchers were more likely than their counterparts, however, to “offset” the flights they had made, including by using alternative methods of travelling to work or avoiding travelling, the study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, found.
'Unexpected' findingsCAST initially surveyed 1,400 university researchers in 2017 about travel related to their work. It followed up with a further study that year involving 350 researchers on the practicalities of choosing “lower carbon travel options.”
“Our findings highlight that climate scientists, like many other professionals, can struggle to square their environmental commitments with competing professional and personal demands and academia itself is not doing enough to change this culture,” she said.
Whitmarsh said the findings showed the need for policies to encourage low carbon choices and that the CCP virus pandemic had presented “virtual options” like online conferencing as an alternative to physical travel.
According to Whitmarsh, though the data was gathered two years ago, it was still relevant as "little had changed in academia up until the global pandemic this year”.
Carbon-Neutral GrowthAir travel has been severely impacted in 2020 due to the restrictions imposed to restrict the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, but may make a recovery to pre-COVID-19 passenger numbers by 2024, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and from there continue to grow.
Michael Shellenberger, a life-long activist for a “greener planet,” in his 2020 book “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All” says that carbon emissions are already in decline globally.
“Carbon emissions peaked and have been declining in most developed nations for more than a decade,” he wrote.
He is an advocate of natural gas and nuclear energy, which he says both significantly reduce carbon emissions, but are still reliable and efficient sources of energy compared to renewables.