23 votes
Accepted

Most environmentally friendly mode of transport

This question is addressed in a paper by Shibahara et al, 2013 (doi:10.2208/jscejipm.68.I_285). They don't discuss walking, but they do discuss bicycling, which I suppose is a more realistic method ...
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  • 1,027
19 votes

Is buying online more sustainable than in local shop next door?

TLDR: in this particular case, where the buyer lives very close to the shop, it's likely that buying in a brick-and-mortar shop has a lower carbon footprint compared to buying online. Online shopping ...
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  • 14.1k
18 votes

Is driving an electric car any better than driving a conventional car if electricity is generated with fossil fuel?

Yes. The hard limit on the efficiency of a heat engine is the Carnot efficiency: the amount of usable energy extracted from a heat source is limited by the temperature of the heat source and the ...
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  • 579
12 votes

Is driving an electric car any better than driving a conventional car if electricity is generated with fossil fuel?

Volvo have done an interesting study on this recently, looking at whole-lifecycle emissions for a BEV (battery electric vehicle) XC40 versus a ICE (internal combusion engine) XC40. A vehicle life-...
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  • 367
11 votes

Is buying online more sustainable than in local shop next door?

It depends on your definition of sustainable. Your question doesn't have an absolute answer as stated. Sustainable can refer to an individual, a community, a region, a country, or civilization as a ...
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9 votes
Accepted

When transporting high-end food stuff from Chita to Moscow, which method is more fuel efficient, by rail or by air?

Air is much more energy intensive. Gucwa and Schaefer looked at the impact of scale on energy intensity in freight transportation, and the chart below is taken from that paper. They looked at varying ...
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  • 14.6k
9 votes
Accepted

What is the share of global human CO2 emission of cargo transport by ship?

From the first search I tried the first result says: According to the Second IMO GHG Study 2009, which is the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the level of GHG emitted by ships, ...
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  • 3,755
7 votes
Accepted

Are trolleybuses better, worse, or about the same, as streetcars in terms of sustainability?

Each has pros and cons. Trolleybuses require less infrastructure (no steel tracks), and don't need the road dug up. Light rail typically (with few exceptions - Curitiba being the notable counter-...
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  • 14.6k
7 votes
Accepted

What measures could be taken to decrease the air pollution in a big city?

To encourage people to not use of purchase cars develop a public transportation system that is easily accessible by the to public and caters to the needs of the public so that people will use it. ...
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  • 3,207
7 votes

Home delivery versus going to stores: how does fuel usage for transport compare? Any studies available?

Unfortunately there are not many studies available on this subject and, as you wrote, the answer depends a lot on the country and on the city. This article on the Guardian analyses the study Impacts ...
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  • 191
7 votes
Accepted

Does 1 container ship really pollute as much as 50,000,000 cars?

It depends on how you define "pollution". Cargo ships use some of the dirtiest fuels available: bunker fuel is basically what's left over after you refine all the good stuff out of crude oil....
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  • 579
6 votes

Lowest impact transatlantic crossing

Unfortunately--and I realize this is not very helpful--the best choice in terms of carbon footprint is almost certainly not to go. It's a good point that freighters are likely to be much more ...
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6 votes

How effective is turning a car's engine off while standing at a traffic light?

I have been using this method for years, on both my Toyota and my Ford Explorer. I save lots of gas, nothing has ever happened to my batteries, and have never had a mechanical problem. You need to use ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Does putting an automatic car in neutral when stopped help save petrol?

According to this answer over on mechanics.SE, below a certain engine RPM, your vehicle automatically disengages the torque converter. That is to say, when stopped, there isn't a fundamental ...
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  • 11.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Is flying more sustainable than taking the train?

I am not able to find any studies comparing the energy consumption. But if we look at a paper investigating emissions directly, which one could argue is an even better proxy for sustainability than ...
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6 votes

How can I make my family understand my CO2-emissions-related hesitation to fly in order to spend time with them?

Carbon offsets aren't a perfect solution by any means, but provided the activity being funded by the offset is genuine and sensible for the long term, carbon offsets could certainly be considered to ...
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6 votes

To what extent do CO2 emissions from motor vehicles vary?

CO2 is produced by burning the carbon in the fuel, so if your driving style causes you to use twice as much fuel, you will produce twice as much CO2. Driving aggressively can have a big impact on ...
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  • 294
6 votes

Plane and train greenhouse emissions - comparison taking infrastructure in account or not?

Cars, buses, trains, and planes: comparison including infrastructure "Life-cycle Environmental Inventory of Passenger Transportation in the United States", a 2008 PhD dissertation, provides a ...
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  • 11.3k
6 votes

Which countries, regions, or cities have set a date to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles?

The best list is probably wikipedia: Phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles There is a good review from the World Economic Forum here, dated 2017, which discusses some of the different approaches taken, ...
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  • 961
6 votes

Efficiency of delivery services vs individuals travelling to purchase items?

The Umweltbundesamt (sort of German EPA, I figure) recently released a new study on the "Ecologisation of online shopping" - which obviously is in German. Anyway, core findings are that ...
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  • 587
5 votes
Accepted

Is sustainable passenger traffic across the Atlantic possible?

Air or water? Should engineers bend their energies on improving air travel or sea travel? Air. Regardless of sustainability, people who are used to hypermobility will not easily accept that mobility ...
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  • 2,393
5 votes
Accepted

How can I make my family understand my CO2-emissions-related hesitation to fly in order to spend time with them?

KubaFYI, in light of the update you made to your question, I am submitting a second answer for your consideration. The title of the question is "How can I make my family understand my CO2-emissions-...
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  • 2,744
5 votes

Being a sustainable Digital Nomad in a Van - First Steps

Three routes: A: Your van has all your worldly possessions. B: In addition you have a place you can store stuff. C: Use a car towable R.V. A: Everything is in your van. Consider removing the ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Is driving an electric car any better than driving a conventional car if electricity is generated with fossil fuel?

Oh yes it is. The fossil fuel of choice in electricity generation today is natural gas. Natural gas combined cycle turbines run at 50% efficiency. Compare that to the 25% average efficiency of a car ...
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  • 3,025
4 votes
Accepted

Is an electric vehicle more sustainable just because it runs on batteries?

short answer: yes, it's better than driving a fossil-fuel car. Long answer: it may seem to make less sense if you only consider a very small range of impacts, where all of the costs are visible, but ...
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  • 14.6k
4 votes

What are the sustainability issues in moving house?

The key thing is: what can you buy second hand at your destination. Not just "what is available", but "what are you actually willing to buy second hand" and "what about the other people involved". It'...
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  • 3,755
4 votes
Accepted

Comparative impact of individual airlines

The question has the carbon-footprint tag so this answer will focus on this aspect. Considering that the great majority of an airline's total fuel consumption is driven by the aircraft consumption ...
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  • 304
4 votes

What is required to make air travel sustainable?

Another option that could be explored (and indeed is, to a limited extent) is the increased use of airships. Being neutrally buoyant, they need much less energy per trip, and the propulsion could be ...
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  • 763
4 votes

What measures could be taken to decrease the air pollution in a big city?

Plant a lot of trees -- assuming you mean partciulate pollution: See for example Estimating the removal of atmospheric particulate pollution by the urban tree canopy of London, under current and ...
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  • 2,037
4 votes
Accepted

How to choose a more sustainable vacation option?

The issue here is using the word "sustainable" as something like "healthy" - the more the better - when it actually refers to a balance between, say, resources used and resources generated. If I buy a ...
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