Since the Paris Conference (COP21) on climate change will be held from 30 November to 11 December, we thought it would be interesting to look into the impact of aviation on our environment.
Global air transport spewed out over 700 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2013. This represents almost 2% of the 36 billion metric tons of CO2 produced by the humans in 2013, and 12% of the pollution emitted by transport in general. The car remains the most polluting means of transport (74%), but the aviation industry is committed to cutting in half its CO2 emissions by 2050, compared to its 2005 levels, according to Air Transport Action Group. "Today’s aircraft consume one fifth that of those produced in 1960 ( per passenger per kilometre )", according to the French Aerospace Industries Association.
A challenge or an attempt at the impossible ? The question needs to be asked because the industry will have to reduce its carbon footprint, drastically, at the same time that the number of airliners in circulation continues to grow (26,000 aircraft today). If one believes the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association , the number of passengers worldwide will accelerate from 3.3 billion in 2014, to 6.2 billion by 2030, making an annual increase of about 5%.
In terms of pollution, it is the short and medium-hauls that are the most polluting due to their large number of daily take-offs and landings.To achieve the set objectives, aviation research continues to work simultaneously on designing ever more efficient engines, finding alternative fuels ( biofuels ), reducing aircraft weight with new materials and equipment, and improvements in air traffic management.