Carbon emissions from aviation growing rapidly

June 27, 2006

Aviation will account for 5% of the world’s carbon emissions by 2050, according to the latest climate change study by UK scientists.

In 2000, air traffic contributed 2% of global carbon emissions, but that figure will grow to 5% by 2050, according to climate modellers at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Scientists at MMU’s Centre for Air Transport and the Environment calculated C02 emissions based on traffic predictions from sources including the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Their study produced two broad baseline scenarios representing an increase in total emissions between of four and six-fold on 2000 levels.

The forecasts account for improvements in technology and air traffic management as total air traffic is predicted to increase by six-eight times 200 levels by 2050.

But they say technological solutions to increased pollution lag well behind growth of the industry.

Preliminary results will be presented to the Transport, Atmosphere and Climate conference jointly staged by CATE and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at Oxford University on June 26-29, in the presence of Minister for Transport Douglas Alexander.

CATE’s David Lee, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MMU, said: "This research confirms the message from the Aviation White Paper that the aviation sector is forecast to make up a considerable proportion of global emissions in the future.

"The results highlight that the rate of growth of aviation is far outstripping the rate of technological progress and improvements in efficiency, he said.

The results are part of a huge EC audit of emissions called QUANTIFY which is looking at the relative effects of different modes of transport – road, rail, air and sea –on the climate.

The study also indicates that shipping could have a stronger effect than aviation from its CO2.

Professor Lee said much more research was needed into the non C02 effects of aviation emissions –ozone, contrails, cirrus clouds – which have been described as "potentially more worrying".

Source: Manchester Metropolitan University

Explore further: Air transport sector at climate juncture

Related Stories

Air transport sector at climate juncture

September 28, 2016

After years of delays and failures, the airline industry began on Wednesday complex negotiations to implement a scheme to reduce its carbon footprint.

Aviation sector to vote on climate change plan

September 27, 2016

Civil aviation officials were expected to endorse a proposal that would have airlines buy credits to offset rising carbon emissions in the sector, at a 10-day meeting that opens in Montreal Tuesday.

European aircraft to use satellite communication

August 10, 2016

The European aviation sector is planning to introduce satellite communication between aircraft and the ground, resulting in fewer zig-zag flight paths, reductions in CO2 emissions, and saved time and money. Norwegian researchers ...

Recommended for you

Entire Himalayan arc can produce large earthquakes

October 26, 2016

The main fault at the foot of the Himalayan mountains can likely generate destructive, major earthquakes along its entire 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) length, a new study finds. Combining historical documents with new geologic ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.