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Adam Minter

You Can’t Shame Asian Flyers

Governments and budget carriers are going to have to find other ways to mitigate the environmental impact of booming air travel. 

The number of Asian flyers will only grow. 

The number of Asian flyers will only grow. 

Photographer: Charles Pertwee/Bloomberg

This summer, European vacationers are being brought down to earth. A campaign, marked by hashtags such as #stayontheground and #flightshame, is pressuring travelers to think twice about the carbon impact of their air travel. Even airlines are joining in the public shaming. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is encouraging people to fly less, and Deutsche Lufthansa AG's CEO recently declared that cheap fares are "economically, ecologically and politically irresponsible." Whether connected or not, there’s been a surge in European train passenger traffic this summer.

None of this well-meaning effort will amount to much, however, unless the industry grapples with the environmental impact of its fastest-growing market: Asia.