Climate Change and Travel References


The climate change letter on the home page of Greenwriters ( has much detailed and organized references for climate change. The references here are more focused on travel and climate change.

IPCC discussion on the Carbon Cycle

2013 IPCC Working Group 1 Chapter 6, Carbon and Other Biochemical Cycles at

In particular, Box 6.1 on page 8 makes these points:

Phase 1. Within several decades of CO2 emissions, about a third to half of an initial pulse of anthropogenic CO2 goes into the land and ocean, while the rest stays in the atmosphere (Box 6.1 Figure 1a). Within a few centuries, most of the anthropogenic CO2 will be in the form of additional dissolved inorganic carbon in the ocean, thereby decreasing ocean pH (Box 6.1, Figure 1b). Within a thousand years the remaining atmospheric fraction of the CO2 emissions…is between 15 and 40%, depending on the amount of carbon release…. The carbonate buffer capacity of the ocean decreases with higher CO2 so the larger the cumulative emission, the higher the remaining atmospheric fraction….

Air Travel Non-CO2 Multiplier

While CO2 emissions for a plane flight are calculated based on fuel consumption (3.16kg CO2 per 1kg kerosene burned), there are a number of climate-change related effects not captured by CO2 by a simple formula. These effects include nitrogen oxide emissions which create ozone some of which destroys methane. Some of this good from a greenhouse gas standpoint, some is bad, some only lasts a few weeks, some lasts for a decade. Water vapor in the form of contrails and aircraft-induced cirrus clouds also have a mixed impact. Particulates are emitted by aircraft and their impact is poorly understood. The “Carbon Offset Research & Education” website ( suggests using a multiplier of 1.9. Their aviation section has a wealth of knowledge ( and goes into much more depth.

Recent US GHG Emissions

The recession brought a decline in per capita U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Based on EPA data, from 2007 to 2012 per capita GHG emissions fell 15 percent, from 24.5 to 20.8 metric tons. These emissions have since been increasing. From 2012 to 2013 they rose 1.2 percent from 20.8 to 21.1 metric tons. On an aggregate basis (not per capita) these emissions rose 3.9 percent from 1990 to 2012, then rose 2.0 percent from 2012 to 2013.


Earth’s Carbon Budget

An article on the earth’s carbon budget:

Discussion of Carbon Lifetime in the atmosphere

Stephen Gardiner, the author of A Perfect Moral Storm cites a publication by David Archer in 2009 as saying “The mean lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere is 30-35 kyr.” He wrote a book titled The Long Thaw in 2009 and also co-authored an article on the topic:
Atmospheric lifetime of fossil-fuel carbon dioxide. D. Archer, M. Eby, V. Brovkin, A. Ridgwell, L. Cao, U. Mikolajewicz, K. Caldeira, K. Matsumoto, G. Munhoven, A. Montenegro, and K. Tokos, Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences 37:117-134, doi 10.1146/, 2009.