Your Plane Travel Destroys Polar Bear Habitat


A group of polar bear researchers wants you to do more than worry about the fate of these beautiful animals.

They’ve calculated how much summer sea ice is melted per metric tonne of CO2 emissions. Then you can decide if the flight you’re planning to take is worth destroying polar bear habitat.

We all know we should fly less as a way to reduce our individual and collective effect on the global climate. But transforming that vague understanding into concrete reasons for action can be difficult — until now.

An international coalition of researchers can now tell you how much damage you’re doing to polar bear habitat when you get on a plane. Next time you take a round-trip flight from Oslo to Copenhagen, for example, you’ve just been responsible for emitting enough CO2 to melt nearly 1 m2 of Arctic summer sea ice.

“There are good numbers showing how CO2 emissions correlate with decreases in sea ice,” said Bjørn Munro Jenssen, a biologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology who has spent decades studying polar bears. “And we know that decreasing sea ice means less habitat for polar bears.”

Continue reading at Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Image via Norwegian University of Science and Technology