How will Google’s policy change impact flights in aviation industry?


Flights now appear to have much less impact on the environment than they did before due to change in the way Google calculates it.

The tech giant, which is the world’s biggest search engine, has taken a key driver of global warming out of its online carbon flight calculator.

Doug Parr, the chief scientist of Greenpeace, told BBC that “Google has airbrushed a huge chunk of the aviation industry’s climate impacts from its pages.”

This could have wide repercussions for people’s travel decisions as Google hosts nine out of every 10 online searches.

protecting its decision, Google said it made the change following consultations with its “industry partners”.

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Google Flights, which allows users to scour the web for flights and fares, also offers to calculate the emissions generated by your journey.

Designed “to help you make more sustainable travel choices”, Google’s feature excludes all the global warming impacts of flying except CO2 which represents just over half of the real impact on the climate of flights.

As per David Lee of Manchester Metropolitan University, “It now significantly understates the global impact of aviation on the climate.”

Leading to a net warming effect on our planet, the creation of long thin clouds high up in the atmosphere also adversely affects climate change.

As per experts, the aviation industry is actually responsible for around 3.5 per cent of the warming caused by human activity but the new policy will only show it as 2 per cent.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) stated in a report that since 2000 emissions have risen by 50 per cent and the industry is expected to grow by more than 4 per cent every year for the next twenty years.

Arguing that the company’s priority is the “accuracy of the individual flight estimates”, Google says it recognises that at the global scale they are a significant additional impact on flying.

(With inputs from agencies)

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