Annual Round-Up: How much CO2 did I save Sept. 2022 to 2023?

Published on 28 November 2023 at 17:05

It's time to see how well I've been doing at reducing my carbon emissions this last year. What have I done well, and what could I still improve?


This covers all significant journeys which are or could be flights - not taking the train to the next town over, taking the bus or doing other things with no flight alternative (eg, my coach/train trip from Grenoble to Marseille in September '23) .


This doesn't take into account the different costs of these trips - it would take a long time to find all the costs, and I can't make great estimates for alternative flight options. However, I can certainly say in terms of experience: I enjoyed the flight-free journeys far more on average, even when they were longer. Long ferry journeys, overnight trains, even whole days aboard trains such as 21-22/01/23, 08/03/23, and 28/09/23 - all were more enjoyable than flying, and I was able to take luggage and liquids freely.


Per hour of travel, flight-free travel can be very cheap - the only problem is the greater number of hours it so often takes! The flights below range from very cheap budget flights all the way to transatlantic carriers, so the price and quality of these experiences also varied widely.


Flight figures calculated at , other modes at .


Flights Taken

Date Journey Reason Tonnes CO2
30/09/22 EIN to EDI Visit friends / leisure 0.228
05/10/22 EDI to AMS " " 0.212
04/11/22 EIN to MAN Family visit 0.195
21/12/22 BRU to ATL via ORD " " 1.500
30/12/22 ATL to BRU via ORD " " 1.500
27/01/23 AGP to CPH Business 0.438
03/03/23 AMS to CPH " " 0.207
16/05/23 EIN to EDI " " 0.228
20/05/23 EDI to EIN " " 0.228
26/06/23 EIN to EDI Leisure 0.228
03/07/23 BHD to NQY " " 0.179
29/07/23 BFS to AMS Business 0.230
03/09/23 STN to EIN Wedding 0.161
TOTAL - - 4.731

Flights Avoided

Date Flight Flight-free alternatives taken Tonnes CO2
08/11/22 EIN to MAN Train (MAN to Shrewsbury), carshare to Bournemouth and Basingstoke, train to London, Eurostar to Rotterdam, train to Weert 0.143
02/12/22 EIN to FRA Trains Weert to Frankfurt via Venlo and Dusseldorf 0.135
05/12/22 FRA to EIN " " in reverse 0.135
21/01/23 EIN to AGP Trains Weert to Malaga via Eindhoven, Paris, Latour de Carol, Barcelona 0.292
30/01/23 HAM to EIN Trains Hamburg to Weert via Dusseldorf and Welkenraedt 0.135
08/03/23 CPH to AMS Trains via Middelfart, Tonder, Niebull, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Leuven, Tilburg 0.161
27/03/23 AMS to NUE Train Weert to Groningen and Utrecht, then Nightjet sleeper train from Utrecht to Nuremberg 0.154
30/03/23 NUE to ZRH Trains Nuremberg to Luzern via Frankfurt Sud 0.129
01/04/23 ZRH to AMS Train Luzern to Zurich, Nightjet Zurich to Utrecht 0.170
06/07/23 BRS to AMS Trains from Bodmin to Bristol, car-share (1 of 5) to Southampton, train to London, Eurostar London to Rotterdam, train to Weert 0.155
23/07/23 AMS to BFS / EIN to DUB Railsail Weert to London via Hoek van Holland and Harwich, train London to Shrewsbury, railsail Shrewsbury to Dublin, Entreprise train Dublin to Belfast 0.154
01/09/23 EIN to STN Railsail Eindhoven to Cambridge via HVH 0.123
19/09/23 AMS to RNS Flixbus Eindhoven to Brussels, Eurostar to Paris, TGV to Rennes 0.172
21/03/23 RNS to LYS TGVs Rennes to Grenoble via Paris 0.167
25/03/23 MRS to BCN Trains Marseille to Perpignan, Flixbus Perpignan to Barcelona 0.121
28/09/23 BCN to BRU Renfe Barcelona to Lyon, Frecciarossa to Paris, Eurostar to Brussels 0.231
TOTAL - - 2.595



CO2 emitted from Sept. 2022 to 2023 (tonnes) 
- Total flights = 4.731 
- Total avoided via flight free options = 2.595 
- Total significant flight free journeys = 0.779 


For reference, 9.54 tonnes is the average annual CO2 emissions for a Dutch person. About 19% of those come from transport, so the transport-related CO2 average per capita is 1.813 tonnes...


So in short, approximately:
- Total transport CO2 from 1 yr = 5.5 tonnes
- 3x the Dutch national average
- 35% of potential flying emissions avoided using flight free options


Figures from and 




Some success, but still terrible overall. Even so, no point pretending the emissions aren't there, otherwise how will I improve this in future years?


I have travelled more in the past year than the last several combined, because I now have to travel for business (EuroWhisky) and for family reasons. Only a small % of the total came from leisure travel. Of the 4.731 total, 3 tonnes came from just 1 journey: A transatlantic visit to my wife's family in the USA. I plan to restrict these journeys to once per yr, but I can't avoid them altogether! The Queen Mary 2 is the only other way across - it takes a week, gets me to the wrong part of the US, and produces even worse emissions than flying!


At least it's almost the same as what I saved using flight free travel over the year.


I did much better by using train travel for smaller journeys. I don't drive, so my frequent trips around the Netherlands and around destinations were all done by train or bus (mostly train). In August alone, I took 2 large trips by train with my wife - to Alkmaar and on a long route across Germany, totalling around 2500km. Even sharing a car would have released over 3x the CO2 here!


While I can't measure every small journey from the year, I must have saved 2 tonnes CO2 *minimum* by not driving - likely much more!


In conclusion - I still have a long way to go in bringing my emissions down. The savings with train and bus travel (even ferries) are so high that I can keep up high rates of business travel in future, and even leisure travel, within Europe: so long as I can switch them all over from flying! This should become more feasible as my business grows and I increasingly have the money/time to take flight-free travel options, even for shorter trips. Not driving is already helping a lot, but I'm still responsible for a significant amount of carbon from travelling.


While transatlantic flights are terrible, I plan to keep them to once per year and to begin shortening them where possible. For example, flying from Amsterdam to Washington DC and taking a train to Atlanta would shave around 0.4 tonnes off the 1.3 tonnes Amsterdam to Atlanta would create: nearly a 1/3 reduction. Taking the train overnight from DC to Atlanta would take a tenth of that at most, leading to a significant saving overall. The problem is time and money - that train is expensive!

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