Flying: Guilty Pleasure or a Lost Opportunity to Combat Climate Change?

Evidence-based policy is something which is very important to me. That’s why I’ve started my Evidence-Based Policy series over at Medium, in which I go over policy issues which are often portrayed inaccurately with regard to the facts. Now if this sounds dry, rest assured that these topics are things of everday relevance to most people. The first article in this series is about flying & climate change. If you’re anything like me, you will have tons of people in your immediate environment which are increasingly eco-conscious. Which is good! However, I frequently notice that these people treat questions of ecological importance as moral questions rather than fact-based questions.

Take flying. Many people nowadays vow to fly less to save the environment. Yet while this may look good on your moral balance sheet, it’s also incredibly ineffective. Especially given how easy it is to offset the CO2 emissions of a transatlantic flight. Considering that only the economically strong portion of the population flies repeatedly, it’s just so much more convenient to pay a few dollars than to restructure your life. And remember, it’s not about ‘being lazy’ or ‘ignoring the problem’, it’s about maximum impact and efficiency. Effective altruism is exactly that, which is why it’s so important for evidence-based policy. CO2-offsetting charities, as charities overall, are highly diverse in their effectiveness. Therefore, I listed some of the most effective charities in the linked article which allow you to offset your flights with the least expenditure. Or join me in a monthly pledge (in my case towards Cool Earth) because then you can freely focus on other fact-based & efficient ways forward!

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