Data-Driven Decision Making to Reduce CO2 Emissions from Air Travel

Air travel is heavily relied upon by businesses around the world and has two main and large impacts. One is obvious in the costs to the bottom line, while the other hides in plain sight – the high amount of emissions that come with each flight. is investing to uncover the truth using its own internal application and is putting a larger stake in the ground during its annual hackathon challenge event at Qlik Qonnections 2019. This year challenge participants will develop a Qlik Sense app for the United Nations to help understand and manage global air travel through the lens of CO2 emission reduction.

Air travel produces significantly more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per passenger kilometer than any other form of transportation. The latest studies show the effects of air travel on the climate aren’t just limited to just greenhouse emissions. For example, planes at high altitudes have an added effect on global warming — also referred as radioactive forcing - which remains vastly unexplored. Despite uncertainty around its exact impact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated the effects of aviation emissions from radioactive forcing to be 2-4 times greater than CO2 alone.

Despite air travel’s negative environmental impact, it remains an incredibly popular form of transportation — with over 20,000 planes in circulation transporting over 3 billion passengers annually. Even though air travel emissions currently account for about only 5% of global warming, the number of planes in circulation is anticipated to rise to 50,000 planes by 2040. Since fuel efficiency is likely not going to improve in proportion to the expected increase in flights, air travel’s impact on global warming will only grow.

With continuous developments in teleconferencing, business can increasingly be carried out efficiently via remote locations. And when meetings are domestic based, particularly for short distance routes, cars are more effective when considering costs and emissions. For example, a flight from New York to California equates to about 20% of a car’s annual carbon emissions. However, the longer the distance, the more efficient flying becomes, as cruising requires less fuel than other parts of a flight. Hence why flying directly whenever possible is the best option vs. layovers – and less stress for passengers as well!

Despite abundant ways to reduce reliance on air travel, many businesses still don’t consider emissions in travel decision making. is working to help businesses make the right decisions through showing the data on current and potential future impacts. The applications built during this year’s hackathon event will strive to give businesses the insight they need to make the best choice on how, where and when to hold meetings, how to make more emission friendly air travel choices, and how to allocate the cost of carbon offsetting to the department booking the travel.

After Qonnections 2019, he applications and methodologies developed will be released publicly for all businesses to use to obtain a clear picture and make real-time decisions – powered by data - on how to manage air travel for tremendously positive impacts to both the bottom line and the environment.

@juliekae outlines how we can make an impact on cutting down CO2 emissions by making air travel #data driven.


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