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  • Pitkälä, Salla (2021)
    Aviation emissions are on the rise as a result of growing numbers of air passengers and more efficient emission reductions in other industries. There are, however, a number of different means to achieve emissions reductions in aviation as well: these include, for example, technological solutions, taxes and different emissions compensation systems. In addition to these, a change in air travel behaviour has been suggested as a means to achieve emission reductions. However, there is no agreement about which solution or solutions should be prioritized. My thesis examines attitudes related to air travel and climate change in 17 Finnish blog texts. The blog texts were analysed using a qualitative attitude approach. The texts were analysed as collections of reactions to the claim that because of climate change, individuals should fly less. Based on the differences and similarities in reactions, or arguments, I categorized them and formed four groups of attitudes which highlight different ways of thinking about reducing individual air travel. The four groups of attitudes are the following: 1) attitudes that agree that individuals should fly less, 2) attitudes that question the claim, 3) mixed attitudes, and 4) attitudes that attempt to avoid the issue. As a part of the analysis, I also examined the bloggers’ perceptions about who should bear the responsibility for reducing aviation emissions and I also examined how these perceptions differ between the four groups of attitudes. The bloggers’ understandings of air travel vary between air travel as an unnecessary luxury and a view that flying is a crucial part of modern world and giving up air travel is not realistic. To achieve emission reductions, some bloggers are willing to switch from flying to travelling by land and sea, or they are ready to reduce travel altogether. Other bloggers stress the importance of technological solutions and policy measures in reducing emissions. Among the visible themes is also a tendency to stress the importance of doing things in moderation, which also applies to air travel. Some bloggers also wonder whether there are some reasons that could justify air travel from time to time. In any case, it is typical that bloggers show varying attitudes towards air travel and consider counterarguments to their initial arguments. In the blog texts, reducing aviation emissions comes across as a complex issue. Studying attitudes can help build knowledge about which means of reducing emissions are considered fair and desirable. Studying attitudes can also help locate barriers to environmentally friendly behaviour. In Finland, there is little research on attitudes towards air travel, and the results of my thesis can be utilized, for example, in planning transport policies or campaigns that promote sustainable travel. However, it should be noted that using blogs as research material poses some questions about the validity and the generalizability of the results. The public and potentially commercial nature of blogs may affect which kinds of attitudes are expressed. Because of this, it is important to study attitudes towards air travel by using different methods and material as well.