Greening your mobility

Are you currently planning a trip abroad as part of your studies, research, a teaching assignment, for an internship or for job shadowing?

This is marvelous! Thank you for your intellectual curiosity and your openness to study, research or work at another European university.

Would you like to choose an eco-friendly means of transportation to go there?

Then we have put together some useful links to help you organize your trip.


Graphic with two trains traveling in opposite directions and lettering that reads "Why your ecological footprint matters."
Source: EDUC

We in EDUC know that the mobility of students, researchers and staff to attend classes, workshops and conferences at other universities or to engage in staff weeks are a key component of academic education, research careers and continuing education.

Unfortunately, travelling can also create substantial environmental impact – especially when it comes to passenger air travel. Today, worldwide aviation account for almost 12% of CO2 emissions from all transportation sources[1] and for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions[2]. Flights are considered particularly harmful to the climate due to the altitude effect.

These negative consequences of travelling are also addressed in the “Green Deal” by the European Commission.[3] The new growth agenda presented in December 2019 aims at Europe to become the world's first climate neutral continent by 2050. The EDUC alliance supports this highly ambitious goal by raising awareness to the topic of sustainable mobility among students, scientists and staff.

Calculate your flight emissions

To give you an idea about the flight emissions caused by a one way trip in relation to your individual climate compatible annual emission budget, we have prepared an exemplary table with destinations within Europe. 
 

Origin*

Destination

CO2 emission by airplane

annual emissions budget per person (1.500 kg)

CO2 emission by train

Zurich

Milan

104 kg CO2

6,9 %

3 kg CO2

London

Amsterdam

125 kg CO2

8,3 %

14 kg CO2

Berlin

Warsaw

156 kg CO2

10,4 %

56 kg CO2

Munich

Budapest

168 kg CO2

11,2 %

18 kg CO2

Paris

Barcelona

238 kg CO2

15,8 %

11 kg CO2

London

Marseille

311 kg CO2

20,7%

36 kg CO2

*one way

If you want to know more about the emissions to your actual destination, feel free to use the following calculator: Atmosfair

Better by train

The advantages of travelling by train are obvious: your journey normally starts and ends directly in the city center, there are no extended waiting-periods and long queues for security-checks and boarding, you have time and space to work in a quiet atmosphere with WI-FI and a power-socket at disposal and you can bring along as much water in a bottle as you wish. By the way, the new Erasmus+ program 2021-2027 provides financial top-ups for travelling by an ecological alternative.

Think about compensation

Not in all cases, it will be possible to find a reasonable alternative to travelling by plane. One of the ways to reduce the impact of flying on the environment is by donating to projects that offset CO2 emissions. These are voluntary schemes where you can pay to make up for the emissions your flight produces. The downside being of course that carbon balancing doesn’t get rid of the carbon dioxide produced when flying. The basic idea, however, is to make up for the share of CO2 that gets released by reducing it somewhere else instead, which will help to slow down the global rise in carbon dioxide levels. This is usually based on measuring the total amount of CO2 produced by each flight and investing in a project which reduces CO2 levels by the same amount. The easiest option could be to offset directly when booking your flight. Numerous airlines already offer these kinds of compensation schemes.

If you wish to choose yourself, you can check with different NGOs directly

We wish you an exciting journey and many valuable encounters on the way and at your destination. Travel savely ... and green!

 

 


Sources:

[1] See website of the Air Traffic Action Group: https://www.atag.org/facts-figures.html (link copied on 15 June 2020).

[2] See the EU Action for Reducing Emissions from Aviation: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/aviation_en (link copied on 15 June 2020).

[3] See the website of the European CommissioN. https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en (link copied on 15 June 2020).

Graphic of pink train moving from right to left.

Websites of major railroad companies in EDUC partner countries as well as general providers:

Also the bus could be an option!

Check out the website of Flixbus for available routes: https://global.flixbus.com/