Then I thought I'd work out the carbon footprint of both and see how much I saved, to nicely round off my blog week...
OK, so the numbers are only fractionally different, and are based on one set of calculation engines I found on the web. But it does highlight the difficulty of making decisions when the information is not readily available or not actually embedded into our daily decision-making processes. I was pretty gutted when I did these calculations last night.
I can rationalise it. Possibly overall, a ferry lasts longer than an airplane and so the embodied CO2 is less than the plane journey. Maybe the full end-to-end infrastructure of air-travel is overall more damaging than car / ferry travel. Possibly the fact that we have to hire a car in Ireland if we don’t take our own makes a difference. The simple truth is that I just don’t know. And we, as individuals, as societies, cannot make proper decisions unless all the facts are in the public domain and fully transparent.
So, what will I do next year? I’m inclined to still do the ferry / car journey again – it was certainly a better experience for me. The rest of the family may feel differently. We’ll have to see.
Notes: Carbon Footprint measured in tonnes CO2e. Flight & Car carbon footprint measured at http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx. Flights are return Stansted to Dublin and include multiplier for radiative forcing. Rail is return Norwich to Stansted. Ferry is return Holyhead to Dublin. Ferry emissions from http://www.carbontracking.com/reports/irish_ferries_emissions_calculation.pdf