Low Carbon Life
Low Carbon Travel - Transportation

   
 
 

 

It is no doubt that travelling around the world is many people’s dream. Lots of Hong Kong people like to take a journey during long holidays to experience exotic culture. There were over one million passengers departed Hong Kong just on the day before the Lunar New Year, it was a good sign indicating that Hong Kong people are fond of travelling.

Public awareness on environmental protection is raising, low carbon living is being advocated as well, people especially aware the importance of energy saving and carbon reduction. Though tourism is considered as “Smokeless Industry”, it is not inevitable that certain extend of pollution are generated in transportation, accommodation as well as catering, which should not be ignored.

Let’s start with transportation, which generates greenhouse gases directly when travelling. Report predicted that airline industry would double the scale compare with that in 2005. Indeed, duration of journey can be saved significantly by taking airplane. However, carbon emission from airplane is much more than other transportation tools, and accounts for around 3-5% of the total emission in the world. Take the one-way trip from Hong Kong to London directly by airplane on economic class as example. Each passenger will release 680 kilogram carbon dioxide, which equals to keeping the air-conditioner in operation for 970 hours at home! Moreover, huge amount of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds are produced when airplanes taking off and landing. Photochemical smog will be generated when these substances contact with the ultraviolet of sun, which affects people’s respiratory system.

To tie in with low carbon travel, apart from taking airplane, many transportation tools indeed can be considered. Railway networks are well established in the world widely; passengers can not only take the inter-city trains, but also can use the high speed railways to travel between countries easily. Specific websites on train travelling are also available online. For the same distance, travelling by train is relatively time-consuming compare with taking flight indeed, but it is much economical and comfortable. Passengers can walk around freely to enjoy the scenery along the way, and can take pictures at any time, which are exactly the joy of travelling. Moreover, carbon emissions by train are much less than that from airplane. If, for instance, travel by “EuroStar” train from London to Paris, the carbon emission is only one-tenth compared to airplane. Also, make good use of the inter-city public transportation system is another choice. For example, taking bus, tram or bicycle instead of in-land flights or renting cars, carbon footprint of travelling can be reduced effectively, which is cost saving and environmentally friendly.

In addition, some companies have to arrange frequent business trips due to business needs. Video conference would be a good substitute if possible. If travelling by airplane is the only choice, purchasing climate tickets can be considered to offset the carbon emissions. Many airlines provide related carbon offset services with the funding be used to support the renewable energy projects or tree planting programmes. However, charges vary and the result does require a long period of observation (such as the growth status of trees).

The world is wide, but we are living under the same sky. Greenhouse gases are accelerating climate changes, and affecting different regions. Therefore, reduce greenhouse gases from source by choosing low carbon transportation tools is the first step of low carbon travel.

 









 

With the development of high speed railway, which is safe, comfortable and low-carbon, many tourists like to take it .

 



Bike is welcome by travelers as it's cheap and environmentally-friendly.

 







(Comic production acknowledgement: Abacus In Motion Company Limited)

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