Researchers funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council and based at Oxford University found that the climate change impact of individuals' annual travel was, on average, equivalent to 5.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide. And although a large proportion of the population are responsible for roughly the same amount of emissions, a few people are responsible for a disproportionately large share of the total.
The Oxford researchers found that 61 per cent of all travel emissions came from individuals in the top 20 per cent of 'emitters', while only 1 per cent of emissions came from those in the bottom 20 per cent.
This high emitters group is mostly made up of employed men in high income groups (earning over £40,000 per year). And across the board, people in high income groups have an average climate change impact of 11.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide - twice the national average. This means they earn around four times as much as low earners and produce on average almost four times as much carbon dioxide emissions.
The research, based on a survey of almost 500 people in Oxfordshire, found that air travel accounted for 70 per cent of personal travel carbon emissions. Individuals classified as being in the top tenth of emitters, were responsible for producing 19.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, from their flying alone. This is especially high given that the suggested safe level of personal carbon emissions, the figure that any future carbon allowance scheme would probably be based upon, could be as low as two tonnes per person.
Car driving was the second largest cause of personal travel carbon emissions and the results of the survey suggest that enforcing motorway speed limits could save up to four per cent of all car travel carbon emissions.
Commenting on the research, project leader Professor John Preston, said:
"The UK is facing tough choices on how to lower greenhouse gas emissions in response to climate change. The transport sector contributes 26 per cent of UK carbon emissions and is the only major sector in which emissions are predicted to rise in the period till 2020. Transport is thus a priority area for government policy. This research helps us understand the extent to which individuals' travel patterns, their location and their social class make an impact on climate change through the carbon dioxide emissions created by their transport use."
Annika Howard | alfa
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine