While most everyone likes a good debate with no real numbers or statistics, in fact REAL NUMBERS and STATISTICS are what we need right now to slow climate temperatures and reverse them.


Airplane travelers emits millions of metric tonnes of carbon dioxide every week.  What alternatives are there to air travel?  Let’s crunch a couple numbers with you.

Cunard Lines say the non-green QEII traveling from Southampton, UK to NYC, USA burns 433 metric tonnes of fuel a day on the six-days trip. A metric tonnes of fuel contains 0.85 tonnes of CARBON, which produce 3.1 metric tonnes of CO2.  EVERY PASSENGER BUYS IN FOR 9.1 METRIC TONNES OF EMITTED CO2.

That is 7.6 times the amount of CO2 produced by flying from London to NYC.

If your friend says he has stopped flying and decided to take a ship to be greener, but it costs 10 times as much, the reason may be it is not greener, but he is buying more fuel to burn.

In fact, since labor and food costs eventually find their level in ALL conveyances of travel, the only variable left in travel costs IS fuel.

You may say, that is only one ship and one example.  So  for those critics, here is another ship and another example calculated by others…

The Queen Mary II is a “greener alternative”

Climate Care, carbon offsetting company

“According to our calculations, the Queen Mary II emits 0.43kg of CO2 per passenger mile, compared with 0.257kg for a long-haul flight (even allowing for the further damage of emissions being produced in the upper atmosphere).  Sometimes our instincts about what’s best for the environment are wrong and this shows the importance of calculating the actual carbon emissions from different activities and making our decisions – both as individuals and government policy – based on THE REAL NUMBERS. We would certainly welcome the cruise liner industry taking a closer look at their carbon footprint. As these figures show, it is not negligible.”

Richard Hammond, the Guardian’s green travel columnist

Quite aside from the carbon emissions, there is a high cost to the ocean. The cruise industry has a poor record in terms of waste water treatment and disposal, and therefore it has to clean up its act if it is to be considered as an environmentally friendly means of travel. The size of the industry is also crucial: cruising is the fastest growing sector of the travel industry. In 2003, 9.3 million passengers took a cruise while the International Eco-tourism Society projects that 17 million passengers will do so in 2010.”

Gwyn Topham, author of Overboard

Mile for mile, the carbon footprint for a cruise is worse – and many passengers will take planes to join a cruise. Since the big cruise lines were hit with massive fines in the US for polluting waters a few years ago, they have made improvements – but ships are not facing that same kind of scrutiny outside Alaska and California. The overall benefits to the ports of call are questionable. And while environmentalists do generally agree that new ships are greener, it takes a long time to adapt older ships and in many areas – such as cleaner fuel, better waste treatment systems – campaigners think cruise lines aren’t doing nearly enough.”

Tricia Barnett, director of Tourism Concern

It’s not greener, and it’s a much broader issue than carbon emissions alone. Cruise ships are the ultimate all-inclusive holiday experience where everything is paid for before you board. So the benefits to locals when you dock are minimal, but they have to deal with the waste that the cruise ship leaves behind. While you’re on board huge amounts of electricity will be used to provide everyone with the services they expect.”


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