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Flying versus vegetarian diet

Flying is associated with relatively high greenhouse gas emissions. This is shown by a comparison with a vegetarian diet over one year. Only one round trip from Frankfurt to London outweighs the savings from the change in diet.

The infographic shows the comparison of GHG emissions of one year vegetarian diet and one flight. The savings of 440 kg CO2 eq. are cancelled out by a round-trip flight from Frankfurt to London.


A meat-based diet is associated with high CO2 emissions from livestock and feed production. A change to a more plant-based diet is absolutely necessary to achieve climate protection goals. Changing eating habits requires a high level of personal commitment in order to overcome ingrained behavioral patterns.

With the help of the UBA CO2-Calculator a saving of 440 kg CO2-equivalent could be calculated, which results from the change of mixed food diet to vegetarian diet for one year. This is a saving of 26 % compared to the unchanged dietary habit.

A round-trip flight from Frankfurt to London would completely offset this achievement. This is a relatively small intra-European flight, with a total distance of only 1,260 km. This example is intended to illustrate the overall impact of flights on the individual carbon footprint.

Further examples will follow and can be found on this page:

Details on data basis:

  • Mixed diet versus vegetarian diet based on the UBA CO2 calculator.
  • Calculation of flight emissions based on TREMOD AV
    • Results consider non-CO2-induced emissions, via RFI 3 (Radiative Forcing Index)
  • Flight distance indicates the great circle distance of departure and destination airports