Climate scientists rack up more air miles than other academics – but feel more guilty about it as they do so, a study has found.
The study – Use of Aviation by Climate Change Researchers: Structural Influences, Personal Attitudes, and Information Provision – by the University of Cardiff in Wales, found
…Significantly higher levels of flying amongst climate change researchers than researchers from other disciplines. This was only partly explained by the greater amount of fieldwork undertaken by this group; the amount of flying is also predicted by level of climate change expertise, job seniority, location, and the amount of flying undertaken for leisure. Despite the greater amount of flying that is done by experts, they report higher levels of awareness and concern about the impact of aviation on climate change. They are also more likely to have offset their flights, used alternatives to travel, and avoided travel, for climate change reasons.
The study, based on responses from 1408 participants from universities around the world, sampled academics from a number of disciplines: earth sciences, biology, engineering, chemistry, economics, sociology, environmental science, history, music, and ‘other’. It then compared responses from those ‘for whom climate change or sustainability is a major part of their work’ – ‘experts’ – with those for whom it is not – ‘non-experts.’
On average, it found that ‘experts typically took around five flights per year (one domestic, two intra-continental, and two inter-continental)’. For non-experts ‘the equivalent figure was four flights per year (no domestic, two intra-continental, and two inter-continental).’
Flying increases with seniority, the study found, with professors being the worst offenders – and climate professors being the worst of the worst.
Both groups took similar numbers of personal flights ‘the median for both groups being around three per year (zero domestic, two intra-continental and one inter-continental).
According the Telegraph:
“Our findings highlight that climate scientists, like many other professionals, can struggle to square their environmental commitments with competing professional and personal demands, and academia itself is not doing enough to change this culture,” said Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, the director of the UK Centre for Climate and Social Transformation (CAST), which carried out the study.
Climate scientists are, of course, forever preaching that we should all drastically reduce our flying if the world is not to experience catastrophic climate change. But it appears from this study that they think the rules which others ought to follow should not apply to them.
As if to underline the mix of hypocrisy and arrogance which are the hallmarks of the climate industry, one of its chief spokesmen – Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute – warned that the study might have dangerous consequences.
He told the Telegraph attempts to ‘force or shame climate researchers into flying less’ could ‘be far more damaging if it reduces the quality and quantity of evidence and advice they provide to policy-makers about cutting greenhouse gas emissions’.
Such a shame for all those melting polar bears and drowning Pacific islands that none of those vital climate researchers and policy makers appears to have yet discovered the existence of Zoom!