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Traveling by car contributes more to global warming

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Traveling by car increases global temperatures more than by plane, but only in the long run, according to new findings released by the American Chemical Society on Wednesday.

The study, published in the August issue of Environmental Science & Technology, said that in the long run, the global temperature increase from a car trip will be on average higher than from a plane journey for the same distance.

“Car travel emits more carbon dioxide than air travel per passenger mile. As carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere longer than the other gases, cars have a more harmful impact on climate change in the long term,” said Kleefeld from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria.


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However, in the short run, traveling by air has a larger adverse impact on climate because airplanes only affect short-lived warming processes at high altitudes.

In the first years after the journey, air travel increases global temperatures four times more than car travel. Passenger trains and buses cause four to five times less impact than automobile travel for every mile a passenger travels, according to the study.

“As planes fly at high altitudes, their impact on ozone and clouds is disproportionately high, though short lived. Although the exact magnitude is uncertain, the net effect is a strong, short-term temperature increase,” said Dr. Jens Borken-Kleefeld, lead author of the study.

To determine the impact of different means of transport, the researchers use, for the first time, a suite of climate chemistry models to monitor the climate effects of all long- and short-lived gases, aerosols and cloud effects, not just carbon dioxide, resulting from transport worldwide.

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4 Responses to “Traveling by car contributes more to global warming”

  1. Camille says:

    This news should be an eye opener. It’s time to think about our environment and not just our luxurious desires. It’s time to reduce car dependence and its time to start with the replacement of our old cars with hybrid cars and such other eco-friendly cars. It may be costly but it can save the planet. Hope we can be heard!

  2. Yes, there are other alternatives aside from using fossil fuel which its price by the way continues to hike. I guess another alternative is to produce battery operated cars. It has zero emissions, fewer parts, and cheaper compared to fuel ran cars. Regarding batteries, I think they have designed way how to recycle its batteries. After all our earliest cars are battery operated.

  3. Aiden says:

    I hope someday we’ll have solar-powered cars. Electric cars are also eco-friendly but electricity isn’t exactly cheap.

  4. Travelling by car does contribute more to global warming, and people are now making amends by saying things about being fuel efficient, hybridization of vehicles, and other green initiatives, but I think the damage has been done. And we can’t easily wipe out the carbon emitting, gas-guzzling vehicles.

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