Norwegian perceptions of climate change and air travel behaviors

Term Paper, 2015

13 Pages, Grade: B


Norwegian perceptions of climate change and air travel behaviorschange and air travel behaviors

The chosen topic is Norwegian perceptions of climate change and air travel behaviors, as air travel has been identified as a rapidly growing contributor to overall CO2 emissions (Gössling, Haglund, Kallgren, Revahl, & Hultman, 2009) for climate change. Specially, with long one way flight exceeding annual per capita sustainable emission levels (Higham & Cohen 2011) in comparison with the other transportations for tourism, such as rail, road and sea-based passenger modes, air travel is furthermore the most harmful for the climate system (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011; Gössling & Peeters, 2007).

Introduction and overview of the issue

In the empirical article Smith & Rodger 2009, note that aviation contributes to total global CO2 emissions in 2005, approximately 3.5%, this was an approximate figure (Smith & Rodger, 2009). More significantly, (Gössling & Peeters, 2007) mentioned that aviation projections forecast continued rapid growth, with average annual growth rates of 5.3% until 2023. They note that as the only sector which is actually with the remarkable growth rate compare to the other sectors, aviation is projected to emit 15-40% of total global CO2 by 2050, as it has been cited in the research article of Higham & Cohen also in 2011 (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011).

‘…the effect of aviation emissions on climate change is greater than the CO2 emissions alone’ by Penner, Lister, Griggs, Dokken, & McFarland, 1999 as Higham & Cohen mentioned in 2011. Smith and Rodger (2009) note that the CO2 emissions of one person flying from the UK to NZ return is 4.2 tonnes. Smith and Rodger (2009) investigated for the non-CO2 impacts of emissions from aviation on climate, and they cite “Brand and Boardman (2008) who calculate that aviation impact multipliers can range from 1.5 to 4. The figure of 4.2 tonnes of CO2 used here is therefore a lower bound on the estimate of the climate impact of such a flight.” (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011; Smith & Rodger, 2009). Therefore, on an average a UK citizen emits 9.5 tonnes of CO2 yearly. As an average UK citizen emits 9.5 tonnes of CO2 a year (Monbiot, 2007), excluding international travel, one return flight to NZ equates to approximately 44% of each UK citizen’s yearly domestic CO2 emissions (Scott A Cohen, Higham, & Cavaliere, 2011; Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011). Furthermore, domestic emissions path of 3.5 tonnes of CO2 emitted globally per person per year (Gössling, 2009), long-haul air travel to NZ is equivalent to 120% of yearly sustainable emissions (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011). A single person has an impact of air travel ‘there is hardly any other human activity that contributes to such substantial amounts of greenhouse gas emissions in a comparably short period of time’ (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011; Gössling, 2009).

(Bows, Anderson, Footitt, Gossling, & Upham, 2009; Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011; Gössling, 2009; Gössling et al., 2009), According to the empirical researches of the mentioned scholars, aviation CO2 emission is a serious concern in the EU since 2011. Climate change target of UK is not to exceed 28 C and to become complete decarbonized by 2050, in all the sectors to compensate for the entire CO2 budget for the UK economy. Moreover, Europe on the long-haul air travel to New Zealand has a massive impact on this issue.

Study context or critical review of the research article

There have been a numbers of studies conducting over last decades on this issue of air travel, climate changing and travel behaviors, attitudes of the tourists by several scholars (Bows et al., 2009; Scott A Cohen et al., 2011; Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011; Gössling, 2009; Gössling et al., 2009; Hares, Dickinson, & Wilkes, 2010; Higham, Cohen, & Cavaliere, 2014; Shaw & Thomas, 2006) (Scott A Cohen et al., 2011).

Based on these researches, public knowledge and concern about the air traveling and climate change is comparatively lower than expected. Tourists perceives that air travel behaviors, climate change and voluntary carbon offsetting, all these factors are irrelevant to reduce personal air travel behavior, choice of destinations etc. which is unquestionable part of the life style (Gössling et al., 2009). Therefore, therefore, it is very clear that tourists are very important role as a stakeholder.

Role-play context

Group of tourists, business travelers and travelers of any other purposes are contributor to climate change but in-fact, they have to travel anyway. They are playing the key role of the issue along with the international airlines and budget airlines. Several authors concluded that European tourists value the long distance flights to Australia or NZ too highly adapt their air travel intentions (Scott A Cohen et al., 2011; Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011; Donnelly, 2008; Gössling, 2009; Gössling et al., 2009)

Higham & Cohen 2011 gave a model on continuum of air travel and carbon consciousness:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011)

“Tourism stakeholders have begun to map the implications of regulatory policy-based initiatives designed to both mitigate the growth of air travel and foster environmental attitudes encouraging tourists to change their air travel patterns (Ministry of Tourism, 2008)” (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011).

Becken conducted research on the air traveler’s perception who had already chosen to travel to NZ, which had an impact on the long-haul air travel consumer’s market in the UK (Becken, 2007). The study of Higham & Cohen 2011, explores the attitudes of UK consumers towards long distance travel to NZ, in light of the growing and scientific discourses on climate concern” (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011).

“Go¨ssling and Hall (2008, p. 153) observed that low-cost short-haul air travel ‘creates hypermobile travel patterns, while spreading the idea that travel is possible at virtually no financial cost’.” (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011). Whereas, Hares notes that the participants of the study have a positive attitudes in this manner (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011; Hares et al., 2010).

“One of the key reasons that air travel has become embedded in holiday practices is that the ideal of freedom is firmly established in the minds of many tourists…” as that is mentioned as freedom to travel (Becken, 2007; Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011).

Stakeholder summary overview

After the review of the researchers’ empirical studies (based on Norway, UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand) on air travel, CO2 emissions and climate change, it is clear that, there are a number of stakeholders are influencing and vice-versa with the overall circle. Below there is a set of some stakeholders:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Various key stakeholder groups

Among the stakeholder groups, one of the key is the budget airlines. There several examples of the low cost airlines companies. They have become available because of the “…tax break on aviation fuel, air traffic deregulation, intense corporate competition…” etc. (Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011). For instance, two low cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet, they supply extra 30 million return seats annually, moreover, flights are more accessible by any category of social class group of customers (Scott A Cohen et al., 2011; Scott Allen Cohen & Higham, 2011).

Individual governments, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, International Air Transport Association, International Civil Aviation Organization, and United Nations Environment Program, managements of all these key stakeholders are targeting to reduce the “… risk in climate change which is a massive managerial challenge…” Rajendra K. Panchauri, Chairman of the IPCC, in Geneva 15th of October 2014. He added about the options of the low cost with better and high solution, which simultaneously addresses to the climate change issue. It is becoming an effective act of UNEP, to provide policy makers and to conduct of sufficient implementation by the policy makers with the basis of climate change, which has a serious impact on future risk. Next section of our assignment will discuss about the various activities of the stakeholders based on their objectives, challenges, activities to achieve the targets (Scott A Cohen et al., 2011).

Critical analysis of the challenges by stakeholders

Solving the Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity in the coming years. According to Higham et al acceleration of the global climate change poses considerable challenges to all societies and economies. They mentioned that the European Union take a consideration to decrease the destruction of the climate, for that reasons, they have a purpose to reduce CO2 emissions by 2020. Then the Norwegian plan to neutralize the carbon across their economy’s sector in 2030 (Scott A Cohen et al., 2011).


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Norwegian perceptions of climate change and air travel behaviors
University of Stavanger
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Jobaire Alam (Author), 2015, Norwegian perceptions of climate change and air travel behaviors, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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