Aviation has come a long way.
With over two billion people traveling safely around the world every year, the aviation industry today provides a lifeline to communities, a couple of businesses and a conduit to the world’s great travel experience.
However, aviation has always caused environmental concerns. In recent years, the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the environment has been of increasing concern.
Aviation produces approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Four kinds of gases make up the main emissions from aviation, carbon dioxide (around 70% of total emissions), water vapor (around 30%) and nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide (less than 1%). The water vapor trails (contrails) created by aircraft may also have an impact on the environment, as, under some meteorological condition, they remain in the atmosphere, which may have an effect on climate change.
Technology has by far the best prospects for reducing aviation emissions. The industry is making a great advance in technologies such as: new aircraft design, composite lightweight materials, advanced engines and development of sustainable alternative jet fuels that could reduce CO2 emissions by 80%.
A lot of commercial jet aircraft operate on a single fuel obtained from fossil fuel resources. The airline industry has set goals to decouple carbon growth from demand growth. While airlines are improving efficiency through improved aircraft and flight logistics, decoupling carbon growth will require non-fossil resourced fuels referred to as sustainable aviation fuel.
Of the other pillars, improved operational practices, including more efficient flight operations such as reduced auxiliary power unit usage, could help achieve a further reduction in CO2 emissions.
There are many technological options to achieve a green aviation concept. These options need to be evaluated based on their economic and environmental merits, cost-effectiveness and safety and operational limitations.
Fixing the planet’s problems is not simple. We should work with Nature, not against it and place Nature at the heart of our social concerns.
We can help others understand the importance and value of our planet. Just remember that the protection of our planet starts with us.