Sep 18, 2019 - Energy & Environment

'Flight shame': Sweden leads the world in quitting air travel

Climate activist Greta Thunberg arrives in New York on a sailboat. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Sweden appears to be the only country in the world, or at least in Europe, where fewer people are flying for environmental reasons, the Telegraph reports.

Why it matters: Flying is a massive contributor to carbon footprints in developed countries, but based on the total number of travelers, air travel has increased this year in 38 of 42 European countries, the Telegraph notes. Drops in air travel in Iceland, Turkey and Bulgaria can be explained by economic or demographic causes, but the same can't be said for Sweden — home of climate activist Greta Thunberg and the "flygskam" (flight shame) movement.

  • Zoom in: The number of air travelers in Sweden dropped by 4.1% in the first half of this year. The trend "first manifested itself at the beginning of 2018 but really kicked into gear at the end of last year," per the Telegraph.
  • Zoom out: Air travel across Europe increased by 4.3% in the first half of this year. The smallest increases came in Sweden's Scandinavian neighbors — Denmark and Norway. The biggest jumps were in Ukraine and Austria.

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