I’m tapping and clicking away, combing through volumes of environmental news articles and whatnot, and I happen upon this article from Science Daily. It looks at the inevitable increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions due to the growing number of commercial flights throughout the world. According to the Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting, CO2 constitutes roughly 70% of aircraft engine emissions, amongst other harmful emissions and particulates. It goes on to list the initiatives being undertaken to reduce emissions in the future, although it appears to me it will be some time before something somewhat definitive and effective is implemented as an industry standard, for more “bio-friendly” skies.
So, how much CO2 is emitted into our troposphere and stratosphere you ask? Well, in my search to find the answer to this question, I stumbled upon this Flight Emissions Calculator. I’ve done my share of jet setting – let’s see what impact it had on mother earth when I went to visit… well… my mother (or mum as they say “Down Under”):
According to the calculator, flying “Are we there yet?” class, from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia (return trip), I personally contributed a lazy 8.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide! That’s 8,100 kilograms or 17,857 pounds, and that’s just for one passenger. If two hundred people are on this flight, that figure jumps to 1,620 tonnes, all things considered. That would be like leaving a trail of 3,571,488 balloons equivalent to the size of an average person, filled with CO2, between Los Angeles and Melbourne. The Science Daily article states that a record 2.51 million commercial flights will be made worldwide this month, that’s an awful lot of CO2 being emitted into our skies. These numbers look dubious I know, but there are many varying factors that determine an accurate measurement of CO2 emissions in the aviation industry (click here for more info). Just as alarming, is that these CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere for approximately 100 years.
For anyone interested, here is another site I found that shares some views on air travel – very groovy mouse cursor
Now I’m certainly not suggesting we all run out and buy a really sturdy pair of sneakers or wetsuit or fly by hot hair balloon, but in the absence of an immediate and bio-friendly solution for aviation fuel, every effort made on the ground can only help. So walk, ride, go for cleaner fuel, recycle, save energy, and all the other things that can be done to help just that little bit more. Check out Biofriendly’s fuel enhancement product Green Plus for our answer to cleaner fuel.