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Climate, Demand management

Feds release their 2010 aviation carbon footprint

What’s the carbon footprint of US federal government agencies’ air business travel? The Council on Environmental Quality just released the tally of federal agencies’ greenhouse gas emissions for fiscal year 2010, and we pulled out air travel data:

  • 5.2% of reported emissions came from air business travel — that’s 3.4 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent, the same as 625,000 cars on the road
  • The Department of Defense accounted for 55% of those business air travel emissions — this excludes military aviation

The US government just released a dataset for their first inventory of greenhouse gases, and we analyzed business air travel data. Interested in the numbers? Dig into our breakdowns.

This reporting is part of a monitoring and reduction plan set up for federal agencies under Obama’s Executive Order 13514. Under the plan, air business travel, commuting, ground travel, and other “Scope 3” indirect emissions are slated to be reduced by a collective 13% (or 1% a year) from 2008-2020. If that same 13% reduction were to be applied to business air travel, it would be like taking 80,000 cars off the road. But there’s no reason not to go further—a wide range of UK businesses and government agencies are already reducing business flights by 20% in 5 years. WWF-UK has put together a practical action plan on how to get started.

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About Anirvan Chatterjee

Anirvan Chatterjee is a bibliophile, technologist, and climate activist from Berkeley, California.

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