Air Travel Contributes to Climate Change

by Ella FAIRCHILD on September 10, 2009

In December the United Nations will have climate talks in Copenhagen to discuss the role air travel plays in global warming.  Britain’s chief climate expert has already weighed in saying that if countries hope to meet goals to slow global warming then the first thing that needs to be reduced is air travel.  The Committee on Climate Change hopes that the summit can reach an agreement to stop the growth of aviation travel in the world.

The Committee is asking for a deal that would not lessen the amount of air travel, but would simply stop it from growing further.  As it stands, emissions from airplanes account for only a small percentage of carbon emissions worldwide, however, if the growth of air travel continues unchecked, this number will rise dramatically over the next fifty years.

The global deal the committee seeks hopes to match or exceed the limits that the European Union has already placed on the growth of air travel, which aims to reduce air emissions by five percent over the next ten years. 

The Committee fears that many countries will only think of the short term, as global travel has taken a steep downturn over the last few years, which is contributing to the overall global recession.  This has some countries looking for ways to cut emissions without cutting flights.  This will include funding research in the aviation field to find new and less harmful ways to fuel airplanes.  Changes to airplane fuel and engines is one way the Committee hopes emissions can be reduced.

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