Airplanes emit CO2. Ergo people shouldn’t fly. To do otherwise is, well, sinful in the view of some people Reports ABC News:
Moral authorities of varied stripes have weighed in. In 2006, London’s Anglican Bishop John Chartres said flying abroad to vacation is a “symptom of sin” because it ignores “an overriding imperative to walk more lightly upon the earth.” Environmentalists have also framed flying as a moral issue since it allegedly causes harm in pursuit of unnecessary ends. “You can be an environmental saint — drive a hybrid car, recycle, conserve your water — and if you take one air flight, it actually blows your carbon budget right out of the water,” says Elle Morrell, director of a green-lifestyle program at the Australian Conservation Foundation. One round-trip flight from Sydney to New York City, she says, generates as much in carbon-dioxide emissions per passenger as an average Australian would generate in an entire flightless year.
Of course, this ignores the value of travel. Even some environmentalists recognize that tourism sustains the environment in some countries.
Airlines aren’t alone in making an ethics-based case for flying. Another defender is Martha Honey, executive director of The Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization. She notes that nature preserves in many developing countries can sustain their missions only with support from foreign visitors who fly there.
“Of everything involved in tourism, airplane travel is doing the most damage in terms of climate change. That’s absolutely true,” Honey says. “But the movement in Europe saying, ‘Stay home; don’t get on a plane’ is disastrous for poor countries â€¦ whose most important source of income is from nature-based tourism. It’s also disastrous for us as a human race to not travel and see the world. The question is, ‘How do you do it, and do it smartly?’ “
It might be worth serious effort to reduce CO2 emissions. But to stop doing what makes life worth living would rather miss the most basic point of life.