Sustainability | VOL. 11

Flights Dominate Travel Emissions of Young Urbanites

Publication Date Nov 12, 2019


Transport is a key sector in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A consensus prevails on a causal relationship between distance to the city center and emissions from private transport, which has led to an emphasis on density in urban planning. However, several studies have reported a reverse association between the level of urbanity and emissions from long-distance leisure travel. Studies have also suggested that pro-environmental attitudes and climate change concerns are unrelated or positively related to emissions from long-distance travel. The goals of this case study were to find out the structure, levels, distribution, and predictors of GHG emissions from the local, domestic, and international travel of young adults of the Reykjavik Capital Region. A life cycle assessment (LCA) approach was utilized to calculate emissions, and the materials were collected with a map-based online survey. International leisure travel dominated the overall GHG emissions from personal travel regardless of residential location, modality style, or income level. A highly unequal distribution of emissions was found. A higher climate change awareness was found to predict higher GHG emissions from trips abroad. Emissions from leisure travel abroad were the highest in the city center, which was related to cosmopolitan attitudes among downtown dwellers.

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Long-distance Travel
Leisure Travel
Modality Style
Pro-environmental Attitudes
Personal Travel
Distribution Of Emissions
Level Of Urbanity
Life Cycle Assessment
Private Transport

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