Wednesday 10/20/21

Finns emit a tonne of CO2 from aviation per capita

This is ten times the world's average. Only citizens of Singapore, with 1.2 tonnes per capita, exceed those of Finland.

A Finnair aircraft. Photo: John H. from Pixabay.

Finland tops another world ranking, but this time it is not for a reason that most citizens will feel proud.

Finns express often their sensitivity towards climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

However, Finns are also the second in the world to cause more carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from aviation: one tonne per capita in 2018 (ten times the world's average), according to the latest data published by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

Only the people of Singapore pollute the environment more by traveling, with 1.2 tonnes of CO2 emissions per capita recorded last year.

Aviation-emissions-top-countries-by-ICCTSource: ICCT

The ICCT developed its ranking by combining and adjusting data produced by the World Bank, in order to eliminate from the account, for example, the emissions caused in each country by foreign tourists or passengers in transit. 

'Flying shame' movement

Icelanders, who produce also 1 tonne per capita, are the third on the list. Australia is in fourth place, followed by the United Kingdom and Switzerland. Swedes, who started the so-called 'flying-shame' (in Swedish flygskam), emitted the seventh largest amount of aviation CO2 on a per capita basis.

The ICCT remarked in its analysis that a country's level of economic development "undeniably plays a role" in this statistics as "in each of these countries, a larger-than-average proportion of the population has enough money to fly". In other words, the per capita level of emissions is higher where people are more likely to travel abroad.

If the above described distribution of emissions per inhabitant is not taken into account and only the absolute emission figures are observed, of course the ranking is dominated by the main economies of the world.

In absolute terms, United States, China, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany are the five largest CO2 emitters from passenger flights in 2018.