Flying Into Climate Change
In modern times, technology has made the world feel much smaller than before. One can get on a plane and end up on the other side of the world in less than a day, something unimaginable in previous centuries. However, planes produce an enormous amount of carbon emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change.
Individually, the majority of frequent travelers’ contributions to climate change are taken up by airplane emissions. On the other hand, globally, flying only contributes around 2.5% of overall carbon emissions. This is because around 80% of the total population either chooses not to or can not afford to fly.
As of data available from 2016, global aviation, which includes both commercial and freight flights and both domestic and international flights, contributes to 1.9% of greenhouse gas emissions and 2.5% of carbon emissions, as previously stated. Although these percentages seem relatively small, they are only growing in magnitude and can be disproportionately high depending on what country is being analyzed.
At this point, the most important methods to reduce aviation emissions are to improve aircraft technology, improve operation and infrastructure, and increase the use of biofuels. The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization works to set policies and standards for the global airline industry, which include regulations on greenhouse gases.