Flying and climate change

The aircraft is by far the most climate-damaging means of transport in direct comparison of all modes of transport.

For example, a return flight from Frankfurt am Main/Germany to Beijing/China already generates more than twice the annual emissions of an average car in Europe.

In addition, when flying, not only carbon is emitted. The combustion of aviation fuel (kerosene) produces numerous other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, aerosols and water vapor, which also contribute to the change in the composition of the earth's atmosphere.

These effects mean that the climate damage potential of flying is about 2-5x higher than the sole effect of the emitted carbon.

For air travel, therefore, the so-called Radiative Forcing Index (also RFI factor) is very important for the emission calculation, since it is used to capture the non-carbon-effects in order to assess the actual climate damage from flights. Read more here.