Google change reduces airlines’ emissions calculations

Google change reduces airlines’ emissions calculations

Google change reduces airlines’ emissions calculations

The way Google calculates the climate impact of your flights has changed.

Your flights now seem to have a much smaller impact on the environment than they did before.

That’s because the world’s biggest search engine has taken a key driver of global warming out of its online carbon flight calculator.

“Google has airbrushed much of the aviation industry’s climate impact from its pages,” says Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace.

With Google hosting nine out of 10 web searches, this could have major implications for people’s travel decisions.

The company said it made the change after consultations with its “industry partners”.

It affects the carbon calculator built into the company’s search tool “Google Flights”.

If you’ve ever tried to find a flight on Google, you’ll have come across Google Flights.

It appears at the top of search results and allows you to search the web for flights and prices.

It also offers to calculate the emissions generated by your journey.

Google says this feature is designed “to help you make more sustainable travel choices”.

Yet in July Google decided to rule out any global warming effect of flying except for CO2.

Some experts say Google’s calculations now represent just over half of the real climate impact of air travel.

“It now significantly underestimates the global impact of aviation on climate,” says Professor David Lee of Manchester Metropolitan University, the author of the most comprehensive scientific assessment of aviation’s contribution to global warming.

Flying affects the climate in many ways in addition to the CO2 produced by burning aviation fuel.

These include the formation of long, thin clouds high in the atmosphere – known as contrails – which trap heat radiated by the Earth, leading to a net warming effect on our planet.

Contrails crossing the sky and the aircraft are visible

Contrails are produced by some aircraft when hydrogen in the fuel reacts with oxygen in the air

These additional warming effects mean that although aviation is only responsible for around 2% of global CO2 emissions, the sector is actually responsible for around 3.5% of warming caused by human activity.

And it’s a sector that’s only going to get bigger.

Since 2000, emissions have increased by 50%, and the industry is expected to grow by more than 4% each year for the next two decades, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Google told the BBC that it “strongly believes” that the non-CO2 effects of aviation should be included in the calculations.

It says it recognizes that on a global scale they are a significant additional effect of flying.

But it argues that the company’s priority is “the accuracy of the individual flight estimates” it provides to consumers.

It says it is working with academics to better understand how contrails and other heating effects affect specific flights.

The UK government has a different approach.

It advises companies to reflect the additional impacts of flying by multiplying the CO2 emissions a flight generates by a factor of 1.9 – effectively doubling the impact.

In its guidance to companies, the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy warns that the value of this multiplier is “subject to significant uncertainty”, but says “there is currently no better way to account for these effects”.

Transport and Environment, a group that works to reduce the environmental impact of travel, agrees.

“Current scientific knowledge is sufficient to state that non-CO2 effects represent two-thirds of aviation’s total climate impact,” it says.

“The industry has been hiding this problem for decades… Google should show customers the non-CO2 effects of each flight, as the European Parliament has proposed to do.”

Google’s changes are likely to have far-reaching effects.

The company’s carbon calculation methodology is recognized as the industry standard in aviation.

It is used by Skyscanner, one of the largest online travel agencies in the world with more than 100 million visitors a month.

A number of other major online travel companies, including, Expedia, Tripadvisor and Visa, have said they intend to use it as well.

Google’s head of sustainability, Kate Brandt, has said the company aims to “build tools that enable travelers and businesses around the world to prioritize sustainability”.

Industry experts say the decision to change the methodology will have the opposite effect.

“I am concerned that the impact of the equivalent of hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 will be ignored because it has become invisible to customers,” says Kit Brennan, founder of Thrust Carbon, a UK company that specializes in helping companies reduce the impact of their journey. has on the climate.

He fears that consumers may come to believe that non-CO2 impacts on the climate are not relevant in the longer term, despite the science that contradicts this view.

It would mean that up to 1.5% of the warming caused by human activity would be ignored and the pressure on airlines to reduce their emissions would be reduced accordingly.

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