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Carbon tracking: travel

Continuing on my thoughts about my carbon footprint: travel. 

A significant chunk of the UK average 5.4 tonnes of carbon is car and plane travel. I don’t own a car, and I don’t intend to fly again, so that’s good for my footprint. Almost all of my practical daily travel is by bike, which has next-to-zero carbon; but I do take trains.

Rather to my horror, CRAG don’t include train (or tube) travel in their conversion factors table. Train data is surprisingly hard to find online (or I’m not looking right), but the splendid Seat61 site has a useful page which gives London to Edinburgh (return) as 24kg of CO2 (= 0.024 tonnes). (The Eurostar to Paris is 22kg return.) Resurgence give 0.1kg/mile for train travel. London-Edinburgh is around 700mi return, so that would be 70kg (0.07 tonnes) which… is rather out of whack with the Seat61 value. Hm.

For now, I’m going to work with the Resurgence value, because I’d rather overestimate than underestimate the cost.

So I’m going to start actually tracking my train travel (distances will be based on Google Maps and thus a little approximate). In September:

  • London to Southampton rtn: 160 mi.
  • London to Aberdeen rtn: 1060 mi.
  • Bermondsey to Battersea Park rtn: 8 mi.

Total 1228 mi = 122.8kg (0.123 tonnes).

No tube or bus travel this month. 

(In the interests of honesty, I should add that I also spent some time in a car on both of the long trips: in Aberdeen in particular there was a fair amount of mileage, although largely as extra passenger rather than cause-of-journey. However, for now I’m going to ignore social trips in other people’s cars, as these were.)