Environmental Impact Of Aviation Emissions & CO2 On Climate Change


Hello, my name is Ben Lovegrove and in this
video I’m going to talk about the environmental impact of the aviation industry. This is a contentious issue with many strong
feelings about it so if you have something to say on this subject feel free to comment
below. This video was inspired by a recent Facebook
post in which someone shared a short video encouraging people to fly less often. The video promoted the idea that air travellers
could do their bit to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment by lessening demand. It is widely known that the aviation industry
is expanding, partly due to passenger demand but also because of an increase in air freight. I too am concerned about the environmental
impact of humanity on the planet. In my lifetime the pace and the severity of the damage has
increased dramatically. In the mid 1970s I sent my first donation
to what was then a small group of campaigners protesting against nuclear tests in the Pacific
and the slaughter of whales in the oceans. That group was called Greenpeace and a few
years later they became Greenpeace International. In the forty years that have passed since
the early days of environmentalism many things have got better but a lot of things have also
got worse. There’s no room of complacency in any industry
and it’s good that we examine the impact we have on the environment, directly or indirectly. Consumers can change their habits and developers
can design cleaner and more efficient technologies. All these things are happening now. Take a
look at the work of the UK based Sustainable Aviation. “Sustainable Aviation is a long term strategy
which sets out the collective approach of UK aviation to tackling the challenge of ensuring
a cleaner, quieter, smarter future for our industry.” Visit this site for more information: www.sustainableaviation.co.uk. Aviation biofuels were approved for commercial
use in 2011 and second generation aviation biofuels are now in development. More fuel-efficient and less polluting turbofan
and turboprop engines have been developed and produced. Hybrid and electrically powered aircraft are
now being designed and the first prototypes are appearing. But none of this research would be possible
if the aviation industry was in a slump or permanent decline. It takes investment to carry out research
and development and those funds come from the profits of healthy companies. According to the European Commission’s website
“Direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas
emissions and more than 2% of global emissions.” Compare that to these figures from the International
Maritime Organisation’s website, “For the period 2007–2012, on average, shipping accounted
for approximately 3.1% of annual global CO2 and approximately 2.8% of annual greenhouse
gases.” Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right and
there’s no sense in getting into the distraction of whataboutery. But how often do you hear about environmental
campaigns to persuade people to stop buying cheap goods shipped to Europe from overseas? Or video pledges and petitions to persuade
people to stop taking holidays on cruise ships? I wonder if these same campaigners have considered
the impact of their own buying choices on the tonnage of goods that arrive by sea. Aviation is an easy target because it’s more
visible. Airports are obvious to us and the aircraft that fly in our skies are daily reminder
of the industry. Shipping and its impact on the environment
is much less apparent to the general public. Container ships cross the oceans constantly,
bringing with them some things that may be essential to us but also tons of goods that
will soon end up on land-fill sites or worse, dumped in the very oceans that first transported
them to us. Many western countries are crammed with stuff
that no one uses. It’s in our lofts, garages, and in storage sites. It isn’t just aero engines and marine engines
that need to be more efficient and less polluting. We could also buy and store less junk! We should also consider the unintended consequences
of persuading people to stop flying abroad for holidays or making it too expensive for
them to do so. Many families and communities on far off islands
have come to rely on tourists for their livelihoods. Tourism is a huge industry in the Caribbean
for example, with most visitors arriving by air. How will you explain to them that it’s a good
thing they are now unemployed because the tourists are staying at home instead? Airliners also bring tourists and investors
to countries in Africa that use the income the nurture their fragile economies. While cargo aircraft fly to Europe bringing
with them fresh produce from African farms relying on markets abroad. There are many ways in which we, as individuals,
can lessen our detrimental impact as a species on the planet. For some it might include not travelling by
air but if you take a cruise instead you might be surprised by the amount of CO2 your trip
has generated. I will continue to take guilt-free trips aboard
by air as when I can afford them but I will probably travel light and without any palm
oil derivative products. I will be glad to contribute in a small way
to the industry that employs pilots, cabin crew, airport & airline staff, engineers,
baggage handlers, and air traffic controllers.

Comments 7

  • What do you think the airline industry should do to lessen the impact of aviation on the environment?
    Do you think that shipping is more or less of a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions?
    What other ways do you think that individuals can lessen their impact on the environment globally and locally?

  • An easy way to lessen your impact on the enviroment is to eat a PLANT BASED diet! Animal agriculture contributes more green house gases than all transportation pollution combined.

  • I see from your site that you are a pilot. It's no wonder you would want to defend aviation.
    Tourism, however, is far more than just aviation isn't it?
    There is a staggering cost to the environment as a whole, from the cement to build the runways, the hotels, the roads, the transport of food and materials and on and on and on.
    Of course, the local economies and people are happy to have jobs and opportunities, but there is no total cost accounting.
    Those countries welcoming the tourists are frequently the same countries most impacted by climate change and environmental degradation.
    Are there other aspects of the economy that are just as bad or even worse? Certainly.
    But maybe you haven't heard. Climate change and environmental destruction are EXISTENTIAL THREATS.
    A "sustainable" economy based on exponential growth is a logical fallacy.
    Physics does not care what you think or what you would like; it has its own iron-clad laws.
    Hubris has been the stuff of tragedies as long as civilization has existed.
    But the human-species could be the first to go extinct because of it.
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/tourism-responsible-for-8-of-global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-study-finds

  • Jet aircraft are four times more polluting than ships per person. But the main problem is the emission of intense heat into the frigid stratosphere. This is the driver of the terrible storms and floods that are increasing continuously over the entire planet. Yes, we should be doing everything possible to save the planet, but jet aircraft need to be at the top of the list.

  • Every ounce of Fossil fuel Burnt is justified by different industries differently……..Finally Every ounce of Fossil fuel burnt in what ever the way possible only takes planet earth one step closer to increase its resistance towards sustaining any form of Life………

  • https://youtu.be/-F-bYf7NmUw
    Biofuel from wood is coming

  • I came on here after searching this subject. And after noticing less planes in the sky. Idk I could be wrong.

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