BBC: Google obscures the ecological impact of airplane travel

According to the BBC, Google would mask the ecological impact of air travel. The company recently made changes to its calculator that calculates the environmental impact of air travel. According to Google, this temporarily only shows the impact of carbon dioxide.

Google claims on Github that in the long term it does want to include the impact of non-CO2 effects in the calculator but the company says it wants to meet with stakeholders first. Despite the fact that Google currently only includes the impact of carbon dioxide in the calculator, it still expresses the results in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent; that is a unit that also takes into account damage to the climate from other emissions.

According to the BBC the change in the calculator currently ensures that the ecological impact of air travel is obscured. For example, a flight from the American city of Seattle to Paris would emit 1070 kg of CO2e using the old calculation method. Via the new calculation method, which according to Google is temporary, the same flight currently emits 521 kg of CO2e. The American company emphasizes to the BBC that it will still include non-CO2 effects in the calculator. However, it is not clear when this will happen.

BBC Google Flight CO2 Calculator Comparison