People would fly less to help climate change, survey shows

Around six out of 10 people would be prepared to fly less in the next year to help fight climate change, a survey suggests.

Two-thirds would be willing to pay extra to "offset" the pollution caused by their European return flights - which costs less than £5.

Environmentalists claim the findings pile pressure on aviation industry leaders and governments to find solutions to pollution caused by flying, as they gather for a meeting on the issue.

The poll of 2,089 people for WWF, a conservation charity, found that 60% of people would be willing to cut back on flying internationally in the next year to tackle climate change.

The figure was higher than those who were willing to cut back on driving (47%) or eating meat (49%), while 70% said they would be prepared to buy fewer new gadgets.

70% said they would buy fewer gadgets to tackle climate change. Credit: PA

The world's first comprehensive climate change deal was set out in Paris last December, but while it commits nations to cutting greenhouse gases, it does not deal with international flights directly.

The proposal on the table at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) meeting in Montreal is an offsetting scheme which will require airlines to invest in carbon reduction projects for every tonne of carbon dioxide they emit above 2020 levels.

WWF-UK chief David Nussbaum said: "The most straightforward way to reduce emissions from aviation is to fly less, so it is encouraging that 60% of Britons are prepared to do just that.

"Most people don't realise that it costs less than £5 per person to offset the carbon dioxide from a European flight, even with high quality 'gold standard' carbon credits, and yet two thirds are willing to pay that price.

"That should give governments worldwide the confidence to sign up to an ambitious emissions reduction scheme from day one and set their airlines en route to a sustainable future."