The Sierra Club is celebrating Earth Day this year with the gift of CO2. The winner of their big Earth Day promotion receives a round trip flight from anywhere in the US to Seattle—possibly as climate-destructive as driving a car for 10 months.
When did environmental groups start ignoring climate change? The aviation industry is responsible for 4.9% of the human impact on the climate. If aviation were a country, it would be one of the top emitters in the world. The Sierra Club doesn’t need to be promoting aviation as an Earth Day prize.
We ask that the Sierra Club offer an alternate low-carbon prize for its Earth Day promotion, whether that’s a trip by train or bus, or something that doesn’t involve long-distance travel. The Sierra Club has long been on the right side of aviation environmental issues. That’s why we’re do disappointed to see their marketing department pushing dirty aviation.
Methodology: According to Atmosfair’s carbon calculator, a round trip flight for two from New York (the most populous city in the US) to Seattle generates about 4.2 metric tons of CO2e (TripFootprint calculates 6.7 metric tons, but we’ll use the lower number). According to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, that equals 9.9 months of driving an average passenger vehicle (the TripFootprint figure would be over 15 months).