How harmful is flying to the climate?

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 to Beijing already generates more than twice the annual emissions of an average car.

In addition, when flying, not only CO2 is ejected. 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 CO2. 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-CO2effects in order to assess the actual climate damage from flights. Read more here.

Further information can be found in the UBA environmental tips on air travel.