The folks at Skype, the company that provides free Internet phone calling all over the world, calculate that if businesses cut out 20 percent of their travel, they would reduce air pollution by 22 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. They also gave us the example that flying across the U.S. just once cancels out all the energy you would save by recycling your trash and other waste for an entire lifetime.

 The folks at Skype say that the emissions from one person flying for five to six hours in an airliner are roughly equivalent to driving 40,000 miles. It seems to us that the whole airplane – say, a Boeing 727 – might produce that much pollution, but a single passenger would not. Since the plane holds around 220 people, and they almost always fly full, one person could be held responsible for only 1/220th of the emissions. Flying in a larger plane, like a Boeing 747, would be even more efficient. The folks at Skype seem mathematically challenged.

 Of more direct interest, TeleGeography, a market research outfit, says that Skype is now the leading carrier of international voice telephone calls (as opposed to data transmission calls). Skype, they say, carried some 8% of the world’s 384 billion minutes of cross-border traffic. International voice traffic continues to rise at double digit rates, 14% in 2007 and 12% in 2008.  Skype’s cross-border traffic grew about 41% in 2008 to 33 billion minutes.



  1. The 22 million tons of carbon dioxide saved each year amounts to approximate one third of one percent of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions put out by Americans, if you figure Americans emit approximately 20 tons per person.

    The 20-tons-per-American figure comes from this site: