The convenient and speedy transport provided by the Commercial Aviation Industry comes at a hefty price of environmental damage. The problem is as old as the first passenger airplane but the effects have enormously magnified now.
On average, global aviation activities contribute 2% towards the world carbon footprint, which further leads to the Green House Effect. The climate imbalances seen around the world are nothing but renditions of the same effect, which is raising the Earth’s temperature.
Two decades earlier, the problem was being considered an important issue at hand, but today it is one of the most critical ones. Air travel is rising at a breakneck pace as more and more people choose to travel by air than before. Estimated, nearly 3 billion people travel use global aviation services in a year, which will only increase as time progresses.
Environmental Damage in numbers
The aviation industry currently has the highest Carbon emission among all modes of travel. The data is summarize below in the form of a table.
|Mode of Travel||CO2 Emission in g/km|
As evident, the emission done by the Aviation industry exceeds all other modes of travel by a gigantic margin. It’s not hard to imagine the amount of damage that can be done if we continue at this pace.
Alexandre de Juniac, an IATA executive said that “The sector is under considerable pressure.” The statement although reflects on the urgency of the situation but any significant alternative is still very far.
Scientists have concluded that electric airplanes can be one of the alternatives but they immensely fail when it comes to commercialization. The costs involved in making battery powered planes are so high that they can’t be considered for another 2 decades. Or a viable method of storing thousands of horsepower of energy on board is discovered.
The other challenge is that global aviation services and airlines are slow at removing their airplanes from service to shift to an eco-friendly service. A typical plane comes with a service life of decades, and the new planes taken into service in the past decade are very hard to get rid of.
Biofuel is one of the closest alternatives that can actually make a difference to air travel and many companies have already begun their testing. The reports are improving and we might see a plane or two flying on biofuel. The same problem of standardization in a commercial sense remains and a rock solid product is still far from the market.
New modular planes are also being talked of, that feature lighter components and better aerodynamics. These planes are expected to consume less fuel than the regular jetliners and hence, can potentially act as an alternative to the problem.
Environmental experts argue that the aviation industry needs to cut down its emission rates by 45% by 2030 in order to maintain Earth’s temperature. If the same is not achieved, the climate imbalance will continue to prosper and it’s a problem that everyone would face whether they use Airplanes or not.