Richard Allan

Professor - University of Reading
University of Reading
Richard Allan

After attending a talk by Professor Kevin Anderson I was inspired to avoid flying as much as practical. I attend very few meetings outside Europe (Boston in 2014 was the last one) and travel by train in Europe. Using Eurostar and changing in Paris works well. For example, I travelled from Reading to Barcelona in December 2017 and have caught a boat from Harwich to the Netherlands for a meeting. The exceptions are when balancing academic and family commitments. I chose to fly to Toulouse in 2015 for what I considered an important project meeting that fell within a busy period of lecturing although I have successfully travelled here by train on another occasion using the sleeper service from Paris. I have also undertaken occasional short haul holidays, finding it difficult to inflict my decision to avoid flying on my family.

My aim to avoid flying has recently caused me a dilemma. I was recently nominated as a lead author for a forthcoming chapter of the next IPCC assessment report. This is an exciting opportunity but one that commits me to at least two long haul journeys. I have taken the decision to accept this responsibility, which I consider sufficiently important to blemish my record. However, I fully intend to continue using ground-based transport for all other meetings. It is possible to work efficiently on long train journeys and although career opportunities and family commitments may sometimes be compromised, I consider brighter young scientists more worthy of choosing to flying on occasion to build up their networks and strengthen their contribution to science.

Climate Scientist interested in Earth’s energy budget and water cycle