Aviation chiefs have rejected measures to reduce the climate impact of jet fumes | climate science

Airlines and airports have opposed measures to tackle global warming caused by vapor trails from jet planes which evidence shows account for more than half of the aviation industry’s climate impact, reveals new documents.

Industry argued in government briefs that the science was not “robust” enough to justify reduction targets for these non-CO emissions.2 emissions. Scientists say the climate impact of vapor trails, or contrails, has been known for more than two decades, with one accusing the industry of a “typical climate denial strategy”.

While carbon emissions from jet engines contribute to global warming, research suggests that the contrails formed when water vapor and soot particles turn into ice crystals have an even bigger impact. These man-made clouds trap heat in the atmosphere that would otherwise escape into space.

The vapor trail lobbying in documents obtained by openDemocracy highlights the lack of consensus among airline executives, scientists and carbon offset websites on the exact climate impact of the flight. This means that people who want to offset the environmental impact of their flights get very different prices.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in a 1999 special report that aviation’s historic climate impact was two to four times that of its CO2 shows alone. A 2020 EU study also reported that emissions without CO2 aircraft emissions, composed mostly of contrails, warm the planet about twice as much as the carbon dioxide emitted by planes, but acknowledged there were “significant uncertainties”.

Airplane vapor trails cover the sky over west London on an early autumn evening.
Photograph: Rob Matthews/Alamy

Piers Forster, professor of climate physics at the University of Leeds and member of the Climate Change Committee, which advises the government on emissions targets, said: “Industry should not hide behind uncertainty and must act to rapidly reduce both its CO2 and without CO2 effects.”

Milan Klöwer, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said airlines are adopting a “typical strategy of climate denialism” by exaggerating the level of uncertainty about non-CO emissions.2 effects. He said: “Even in the best of times they roughly double the effect of CO2 climate broadcasts.

The aviation industry said in submissions to the government’s 2021 consultation for its “jet zero” strategy to achieve net zero carbon emissions that more research was needed on the impact of non-CO2 emissions.2 repercussions.

Airlines UK, the trade body for UK-registered airlines, said: “The science around [non-CO2 impacts] is not yet strong enough to set reduction targets. Ryanair and Wizz Air said it was too early to formulate and implement policies to mitigate the impact of contrails.

Sustainable Aviation, which brings together airlines, airports and other industry players, said there were projects looking at ways to reduce non-CO emissions.2 emissions, but it was too early to regulate.

He said: “Given the complexity of non-CO2 impacts, the development of science and a wide range of impacts, we do not believe that the non-CO2 emissions should be included in consumer information.

Unveiling the Jet Zero strategy last year, the government said sustainable aviation fuel should lessen the climate impact of contrails.

Airlines tend to ignore non-COs2 effects in flight emission offset systems. The official International Civil Aviation Organization tool for calculating emissions also does not include contrails in its methodology.

BA’s emissions calculator shows that a one-way flight from London Heathrow to New York emits 348kg of CO2E (carbon dioxide equivalent) and charges £3.97 for compensation.

But Atmosfair, a German nonprofit that supports the decarbonisation of flying, calculates that the same journey in a Boeing 777-200, a type of plane used by BA, emits 896kg and charges £18.37 for compensation . Atmosfair emissions include CO equivalent2 emissions of 587 kg, which is largely for contrails.

A Sustainable Aviation spokesperson said: “UK aviation recognizes that non-CO2 the impacts need to be better understood and addressed, and supports further research. This is why we welcomed the inclusion of non-CO2 monitoring solutions under the European Emissions Trading Scheme [and] why testing of aircraft powered by sustainable aviation fuels will include CO2-free emissions monitoring2 benefits.”

Rob Bryher, aviation campaigner at climate charity Possible, said: “These documents show that airlines cannot be trusted to decarbonise on their own. Demand management solutions such as a frequent flyer tax, the introduction of a fuel tax, carbon pricing or airport capacity management are going to be crucial. »

The Department for Transport said: “Our jet zero strategy has confirmed our aim to treat non-CO2 aviation impacts, developing our understanding of their impact and possible solutions, and the UK is one of the leading countries working to address this issue.

theguardian Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button