Since June 2019, the working group Flying Faculties has been working on the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the global air traffic. Initiated by the Sustainability office, the working group comprises of universities and students. The project aims at evaluating the emissions caused by business trips and at developing a strategy for reducing aircraft emissions and raising awareness among employees.
As of today, the global air traffic causes about three percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and these climate-damaging emissions are caused by a very small minority of the world's population and contribute significantly to the personal carbon footprint of this flying population. For example, an economy round-trip flight from Frankfurt to New York emits 2.9 t CO2, while the average CO2 footprint of a German citizen is 11 t for 2017. The annual CO2 budget per person to achieve the 2 degree climate target is 2.3 t per year. The working group therefore evaluated the level of impact of all business trips of one faculty for the year 2018, based on the available travel documentation. Preliminary calculations show that business travel, and especially air travel, accounts for 10-20% of the university's total emissions.