Planes and Trains

Plane and train tickets should reveal the environmental impact of individual journeys by stating the carbon emissions released on each trip, the UK's main professional body for engineers said yesterday.

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers said branding tickets according to their green credentials should be one of a series of measures the government should adopt, so that having a large carbon footprint became "as socially unacceptable as drink-driving".

In a report on sustainable transport, the body highlighted trains as one of the most environmentally benign ways to travel and put forward strategies to wean people away from travelling by car or plane, including extra fuel taxes, congestion charges and more aggressive road pricing.

For a 400-mile trip from London to Glasgow, the carbon dioxide emissions per passenger travelling by road are 80.2kg, compared with 133.7kg by air and 46.8kg by rail, the report said.

In Britain, almost a quarter of annual carbon emissions are from transport, 85% of which is from road traffic.

Stating carbon dioxide emissions on tickets would help passengers understand which modes of transport have the least environmental impact. "If we're going to understand the impact of our journey, why doesn't the ticket tell us?" said Cliff Perry, vice-chairman of the institute's railway division.

The Guardian, Wednesday March 5 2008

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