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Global warming remains one of the most dangerous and prevalent issues in regards to our planet and future as a society, says Lee Hales

Automobiles are renowned for being one of the worst culprits of emitting harmful emissions into our vulnerable atmosphere. The greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that are emitted as a result of fuel consumption have devastating effects on the environment. Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere longer than other gases, so cars have a more harmful impact on climate change in the long term.

But, what are the worst and cleanest ways to travel? Have you ever wondered how your carbon footprint grows depending on the journeys you make?

The Most Carbon Efficient Ways to Travel – an article by Park Indigo – compares the most harmful modes of transport to the environment alongside the more friendliest forms of transport, by measuring how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere per person, per kilometre (km) of travel.

The most harmful ways to travel

The article reveals that a large RoPax Ferry is the worst and the most damaging way to travel.

These roll-on-roll-off ferries have been designed to provide maximum efficiency and seamless transfer in loading cargo and passengers across waters, but these journeys have an alarming impact on the environment. We found that an enormous 387.4g of CO2 is belched out by the huge ferries per km, per person.

The 5 most harmful ways to travel:

Large RoPax Ferry. 387.4g CO2 per km.

Long Haul Flight (First Class). 322.3g CO2 per km.

Large Petrol Car. 299.1g CO2 per km

Large Diesel Van. 270.1g CO2 per km.

Large LPG car. 269.8g CO2 per km.

The cleanest ways to travel

A classic bicycle, manned by leg-power, has no emissions at all (0g CO2 per person, per km) and is the cleanest way to travel. Surprisingly we found that an electric car with solar panels also has 0g of harmful CO2 emissions.

Earlier this year, Panasonic announced an advanced solar panel system that will debut on the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid in Japan. As solar panels and electric vehicles get cheaper and more efficient, the potential of solar roofs across other forms of transport is likely to grow which will have a positive impact on each of our carbon footprints.

The 5 cleanest ways to travel:

Bicycle. 0g CO2 per km.

Electric Car (with solar panels). 0g CO2 per km.

Electric Car. 12g CO2 per km.

International Rail (Eurostar). 15.1g CO2 per km.

Ferry (foot passenger). 19.3g CO2 per km.

The biggest shockers

One of the most shocking statistics that The Most Carbon Efficient Ways to Travel piece reveals is that travelling a km on short haul flight in economy class, or a km on a car passenger ferry, is still better for the environment than travelling the same distance in a small petrol car. A small petrol car emits 171.1g of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, whilst a short haul flight emits 91.4g CO2 (per km, per person) and a car passenger ferry emits 133.2g of CO2.

Looking back at the worst way to travel, a large RoPax Ferry with 387.4g of CO2 per km, per person, we found that the emissions were more harmful than a first class long haul flight, which emits 322.3g of CO2 per km, per passenger.

Why is your carbon footprint important?

The term 'footprint' refers to the impact we are each having on the Earth, including our input of greenhouse gases, specifically CO2, into the atmosphere. Personal footprints can be measured to determine our own levels, and to highlight how we can control and strive to reduce our carbon output.

By taking cleaner options when we take our next trip, using public or shared transport and walking for short journeys, each of us can help to reduce our carbon footprints and our overall impact on the surrounding environment.

Lee Hales is the UK Operations Director for Park Indigo Services. Park Indigo specialises in the development and management of car parking solutions for both public and private organisations across a range of sectors.

Green Adventures July 2017