Air traffic growth set to outpace carbon reduction efforts

August 7, 2014, University of Southampton
An airliner lands at sunset

Carbon reduction efforts in the airline industry will be outweighed by growth in air-traffic, even if the most contentious mitigation measures are implemented, according to new research by the University of Southampton.

Even if proposed mitigation measures are agreed upon and put into place, air traffic growth-rates are likely to out-pace emission reductions, unless demand is substantially reduced.

"There is little doubt that increasing demand for air travel will continue for the foreseeable future," says co-author and travel expert Professor John Preston. "As a result, is going to become an increasingly significant contributor to ."

The authors of the new study, which has been published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, have calculated that the ticket price increase necessary to drive down demand would value CO2 emissions at up to one hundred times the amount of current valuations.

"This would translate to a yearly 1.4 per cent increase on ticket prices, breaking the trend of increasing lower airfares," says co-author and researcher Matt Grote. "The price of domestic tickets has dropped by 1.3 per cent a year between 1979 and 2012, and international fares have fallen by 0.5 per cent per annum between 1990 and 2012."

However, the research suggests any move to suppress demand would be resisted by the and national governments. The researchers say a global regulator 'with teeth' is urgently needed to enforce CO2 emission reduction measures.

"Some can be left to the aviation sector to resolve," says Head of the Centre for Environmental Science at the University of Southampton Professor Ian Williams. "For example, the industry will continue to seek improvements to fuel efficiency as this will reduce costs. However, other essential measures, such as securing international agreements, setting action plans, regulations and carbon standards will require political leadership at a global level."

The literature review conducted by the researchers suggests that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) 'lacks the legal authority to force compliance and therefore is heavily reliant on voluntary cooperation and piecemeal agreements'.

Current targets, set at the most recent ICAO Assembly Session last October, include a global average fuel-efficiency improvement of two per cent a year (up to 2050) and keeping global net CO2 emissions for international aviation at the same level from 2020. Global market based measures (MBM) have yet to be agreed upon, while Boeing predicts the number of aircraft in service to double between the years 2011 and 2031.

Explore further: Regulations only a first step in cutting emissions

More information: The paper "Direct carbon dioxide emissions from civil aircraft" was published in Atmospheric Environment.

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The Alchemist
1 / 5 (2) Aug 07, 2014
Well here is an experiment we can all do:
Set your AC to equal outside temperature. Notice how warm or cool it feels, believe it or not, your skin is very sensitive. See how much heat you can feel from the stove at a distance. The CO2 in your home is probably over 1000ppm. The H2O is probably 40% from the AC.
Now open your doors and windows.
Immediately you will notice it feels warmer. You will feel less heat further away from the stove for example.
The CO2 will have dropped to near 400ppm, and the humidity will probably have increased only a little bit, to 60% max, maybe.
Half a reduction in CO2, and a slight increase in H2O results in a dramatic and uncomfortable change to our sensible environ, which would be more, not less impressive were you to measure it.
The Alchemist
1 / 5 (2) Aug 07, 2014
The worst impacts of CO2 are on us. If CO2 is 400ppm outside, it is exponentially larger inside. This leads to drowsiness, stiff necks, etc.. If you aren't sleeping well, etc., see how you do with the window open.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2014
You gotta to admire the chemist, always pushing the envelope.
Methinks he breatheth too much CO2 this time though.
Brain damage is a bitch, ain't it.
The Alchemist
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2014
And yet, CO, not CO2 causes brain damage. People usually get a full recovery from CO2. Keep trying to keep up AG. You think you wouldv'e supported this experiment.

Or, geeze, if you are the least bit open minded, tried it!
Results you could know for sure; no debating the assumptions or premises a work of a possibly bias submitter has made. It would be YOU in the ring, keeping pace with all the subject matter experts in the world, forming your own conclusions based on the scientific method!
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2014
I rest my case.
Then again, chemist was likely born brain damaged.
The Alchemist
1 / 5 (1) Aug 11, 2014
@ag, as usual you didn't read your own article:


The most common cause of a high carbon dioxide level in the blood is high bicarbonate levels due to the use of medications. Taking diuretics, the prolonged steroid use or the abuse of laxatives all cause high levels of bicarbonate in the bloodstream.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) increases carbon dioxide levels due to reduced oxygen efficiency. Re-breathing expelled carbon dioxide due to inadequate ventilation results in carbon dioxide poisoning as well. Scuba divers who practice skip breathing—holding the breath in order to save the air tank's oxygen—experience hypercapnia frequently.

Read more : http://www.ehow.c...ood.html
Not "breatheth"ing it.
People usually get full recovery from breathing too much CO2.
But keeping trying, statistics say you'll get it sometime. After all 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration...
3 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2014
Ok chemist, I'm not going to argue anymore about this, but you should check the section under "Treatment"
The Alchemist
1 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2014
I figured you'd like this one AG, it is pretty much proof anyone can do disproving CO2 as causal.

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