The website informs holidaymakers which destinations are the least environmentally friendly to reach and which means of transport they should use if they are considering switching to sustainable travel.
The ongoing climate crisis
With the end of COVID-19 restrictions, the ongoing climate crisis has been accelerated by people’s increased desire to travel.
The climate crisis is highlighted by recent heat waves and droughts across Europe. Researchers argue that since international air travel is one of the least sustainable travel options, we should consider the impact on the environment when deciding where to travel and how to get there.
Jörgen Larsson, core researcher behind the travel and climate holiday tool, said: “If you are planning a holiday or business trip and you want to do it in the most climate-friendly way possible, this is intended to be a tool for choosing travel destinations, transport and accommodation. These three are the main factors affecting the carbon footprint.”
How the website works
The tool uses European energy and transport data to create a visual calculation of the distance travelled, the mode of transport used and the type of accommodation where the most sustainable travel destinations are found.
The result is presented as xx kilograms of carbon dioxide expressed as the Arctic ice melt value; with a much higher value the farther you fly. The calculation is based on a scientifically published analysis of the relationship between carbon dioxide and ice melt rates in the Arctic.
The site considers post-pandemic options such as the use of an electric car for those who may only want to vacation internally, and an interactive flight map showing that travel destination choices have the biggest impact on our carbon footprint.
It also emphasizes alternative sustainable travel options, such as B. “Train-bike tours”. Another post-pandemic idea, this type of vacation involves traveling by train to locations at home and abroad while exploring the locations by bike.
Larsson said: “Train bike tours have changed my vacation – it has given me opportunities for more adventurous travel without having to fly.”
The researchers have called on European governments to work together to raise awareness of sustainable travel. The EU Green Deal initiative aims to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
The Travel and Climate website has received positive feedback on its use and is beginning to influence people’s travel decisions.
“It manages to influence, at the grassroots level, individuals who choose low-carbon vacation options,” Larsson said.