Carbon Dioxide From Air Travel

Domestic – 316 gm per passenger-kilometer
Short haul – 260 gm per passenger-kilometer
Long haul – 210 gm per passenger-kilometer

“At 0.85 kg of CO2 per kilometer, air travel produces by far the largest amount of GHG emissions per passenger kilometer of any form of transportation. By comparison, a single-occupant vehicle produces 0.20 kg of CO2 per kilometer, and a bus produces 0.07 kg of CO2 per kilometer.”

For a trip from London Heathrow to Brisbane Australia (one way) their emmissions calculator ( says

“Your emissions from this flight are: 1.87 Tonnes of CO2 The cost to Offset this CO2 will be £ 14.01″ (The distance flown is approximately 18,000km making 0.100 Kg of CO2 per Km (1,870 / 18,000))

For a trip from London Heathrow to Brisbane Australia their emmissions calculator says

“our emissions from this flight are: 2.71 Tonnes of CO2 The cost to offset this CO2 will be £ 20.30″ (The distance flown is approximately 18,000km making 0.150 Kg of CO2 per Km (2.71 / 18,000))

Answers in kg co2

1000 Mj Electricity – 119
1000 Mj Gas – 53
1000 litres oil – 2690
1000 litres lpg – 1490
1000 kg coal – 2548

1000 km small family car – 175 kg
1000 km large family car – 200 kg
1000 km rail – 25 kg co2
1000 km bus/underground – 106 kg
1000 km coach – 50 kg

1 shorthaul air flight(return – UK to Europe) – 600
1 mediumhaul air flight(return – UK to East Coast America, Africa, India) – 1300
1 long haul air flight(return – UK to Australia, South America, Far East) – 3700 (40000km ? = 92.5 gm Co2 per passenger kilometer)

Domestic flight 158g CO2
Short haul international 130g CO2
Long haul international 105g CO2

But the Methodology excludes the Radiative Forcing Index (RFI) …. because a professor from the Centre for Aircraft Tecnnology and the Environment says:

“More recently, the radiative forcing for the year 2000 fleet was evaluated by Sausen et al. (2005) which implies an RFI of 1.9, based upon better scientific understanding, which mostly reduced the contrail radiative forcing. Similarly to IPCC (1999), Sausen et al. (2005) excluded the effects of enhanced cirrus cloudiness but others (e.g. Stordal et al., 2005) have improved calculations over IPCC (1999), which indicates that this effect may be 10 and 80 mW/m2 (cf 0 to 40 mW/m2 of IPCC) but are still unable to give a ‘best estimate’ of radiative forcing.

Whilst it is incorrect to multiply CO2 emissions by the RFI, it is clear from the foregoing that aviation’s effects are more than that of CO2. Currently, there is not a suitable climate metric to express the relationship between emissions and radiative effects from aviation in the same way that the global warming potential does but this is an active area of research. Nonetheless, it is clear that aviation imposes other effects on climate which are greater than that implied from simply considering its CO2 emissions alone.”

But in the introduction to the methodology :

“There is still considerable scientific uncertainty about the scale of the impact of these radiative forcing effects. However, the climate impact of aviation emissions, including radiative forcing, has been estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to be 2-4 times that of the CO2 emissions alone. Currently, government uses a factor of 2 when offsetting its business flight travel.”

So I suggest using an RFI of 2.0 giving these figures:

Domestic flight – 316g CO2
Short haul international – 260g CO2
Long haul international – 210g CO2

See also: Britons named world’s biggest emitters of CO2 from air travel

The Guardian, Wednesday October 10 2007

Britons produce more carbon emissions from air travel a head than any other country, a study reveals today, citing the country’s predilection for low-cost airlines as a major factor.

The average carbon emission for each British flyer was 603kg (1329lb) a year, more than a third higher than Ireland in second place with 434kg and more than double that of the US at 275kg, in third place.

But overall, US adults have the biggest annual travel carbon footprint in the world at 7.8 tonnes, more than double France’s 3.7 tonnes, which comes in at number two. Third on the list, at 3.1 tonnes, is Britain.