Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you will have noticed that there has been a shift in the conversation on climate change in recent years. Spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the project to reduce man-made carbon emissions has moved nearer and nearer the top of the agenda.
As a result of this, we have seen the birth of the flygskam (flight shame) movement. Originating in Sweden, the word is used to describe the guilt we ought to feel when travelling by air.
Why? Because, flygskammers argue, aviation is one of the highest polluting industries in the world; in the UK, it is responsible for 7 per cent of emissions, while globally the number sits at around 2.5 per cent. And the industry shows no signs of slowing down – global air traffic is expected to double to more than 8 billion passengers annually by 2037.
For many individuals, then, flying is the biggest single contributor to our carbon footprint – way above eating meat and heating our homes. So is the movement taking off here in Europe?
In short, no. In the first six months of 2019 the continent actually witnessed a 4.3 per cent year-on-year increase in air passengers, with the likes of Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia, Albania and North Macedonia seeing double-digit growth and Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Latvia, Poland, Hungary and Romania above average rises.
Just four European countries saw a fall in air traffic in 2019. Iceland, thanks to a drop-off in tourism and the collapse of WOW air (-20.3 per cent), Turkey, hindered by a recession (-1.4 per cent), and Bulgaria, which has the world’s fastest-shrinking population (-2.5 per cent).
Sweden, the fourth country in the list, appears to be the only place where people are taking fewer flights because of environmental concerns. The drop there is 4.1 per cent – no doubt thanks to the efforts of Greta, a Swede herself. And perhaps the actions of the Swedish authorities, which are planning a new overnight train service (due to launch in 2022) from Malmo to Cologne, where morning connections speed to Paris, Hamburg and Berlin. Watch this space.
So the question is, what do you – our well-travelled Telegraph readers – think about the idea of flight shame? We put the question out on Twitter, prompting a lively debate, and now we want to hear your views on the matter.
Would you be tempted to fly less in the name of reducing your personal carbon footprint? Comment below to join the conversation, and we will feature the best comments in an article on telegraph.co.uk on Friday.