As much as we at Carectomy harp on car-travel, flying represents an equally insidious environmental threat. A report produced by some of the world’s leading emissions-modeling labs last year paints an even bleaker prediction than expected. By 2025, CO2 emissions will rise from 670 million tons in 2000 to 1.48 billion tons; nitrogen oxide emissions from 2.5 million tons to 6.1 million tons; and the number of people “seriously affected by aircraft noise” will rise from 24 million to 30.3 million.
The report, entitled “Trends in Global Noise and Emissions From Commercial Aviation for 2000 through 2025,” was presented to the USA/Europe Air Traffic Management Seminar in Barcelona but never met public scrutiny – until the Aviation Environment Federation recently uncovered it. AEF spokesman Jeff Gazzard said, “Growth of CO2 emissions on this scale will comfortably outstrip any gains made by improved technology and ensure aviation is an even larger contributor to global warming by 2025 than previously thought. Governments must take action to put a cap on air transport’s unrestrained growth."
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that air travel and environmentalism are incongruous. Analysis of per person flight emissions put a flight across the U.S. on par with driving a car for almost an entire year.
As the UK’s Independent reports:
The International Air Transport Association, which represents 240 airlines, said it was working towards producing binding targets to reduce CO2 emissions. "With fuel costs doubling in the last year, airlines already have an incentive to work towards greater efficiency," a spokesman said. "There has been a 70 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency in the last four decades. Aviation is a benchmark of environmental responsibility for others to follow."
Unfortunately “others” (i.e. the auto and oil industries) apparently have been following aviation’s poor benchmarks. The airline industries are being driven towards efficiency not by government regulation, responsibility to the planet and its citizens, or any moral obligation to make our air breathable – it all comes down to their bottom line. To be fair, the average citizen is no different. The incredible changes we’re seeing right now – the failure of suburban sprawl, the rise of cycling and mass transit, and the decrease in driving – all largely come down to the price of gasoline, dollars and cents.
Photo via flickr by emdot.
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