Air Travel Pollution Keeps Growing

Need an excuse to stay home for the holidays? Here's how much air-travel is polluting our environment.

How bad is air travel for the environment?

Over 100,000 flights take off every day around the world according to data from Aviation Safety Network, 2017. But for our climate, aviation is synonymous with pollution. One round-trip from New York to San Francisco can release up to 3 tons of carbon dioxide in line with the CCFPD. That’s how much the average person emits for 1 full year of heating. Globally, aircraft CO2 emissions are rising up to 70% faster than predicted by the UN in keeping with the ICCT. The U.S. is responsible for 24% of global aviation CO2 emissions. Today, air traffic contributes as much to global warming as the total annual emissions from Germany and the Netherlands, combined as stated in reports from ICCT and the RAC.

Under the current attitude of the industry, aviation and environment is a contradiction in terms. A lot needs to change. In 2016, 191 countries committed to limiting emissions by optimizing routes, using more efficient planes and cleaner fuel. Biofuel will help greatly to reduce carbon emissions and give more choices for aviation fuel. But some believe this won’t be enough and that there is a need to encourage alternatives. For a journey of about 60 miles, trains pollute 10 to 50 times less, buses 5 to 10 times less according to data from E-RSE, 2017. Carpooling is also eco-friendlier.

When planes are the only option, a non-stop flight pollutes less. In fact, its take-offs and landings that consume the most energy: they generate 25% for flights over 500 miles in agreement with NASA. At a personal level, renouncing to a long-haul flight is still one of the most effective ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint. French economist Thomas Piketty recommends “a progressive tax” on airline tickets. His idea is to use the minority of the world population who uses air travel to help finance the adaptive measures imposed by climate change. In 2018, about 4.3 billion passengers travelled by plane pursuant to the ICAO. There will likely be twice that many in 2035 as reported by the IATA.


11/27/2019 4:41 PM


  • Banban M.
    04/16/2020 15:19

    You blame USA For that 24%?? Try tell that to all the people who are coming there!!!

  • Hayud P.
    04/15/2020 18:45

    Who Paid you to make Philippines number 1 in worst lockdowns? fake news Brut just fake news, in Kenya Police shot a kid and in Philippines no one died of gunshot or any police force and you think Philippines is number 1? stfu! . do your homework well your giving out false and misleading thoughts about our Country fool!

  • Lucita L.
    04/15/2020 06:07

    Covid cleaned the air!

  • Leo J.
    04/15/2020 05:05

    Someone should be responsible for this Virus. Don't blame God please it's a human ingenuity.

  • Gloria G.
    04/14/2020 18:39

    Another really ridiculous conspiracy theory. Stop now! Don't add to the panic, for G-d's sake! Stay sane! 🤔🤔🤔

  • Monkeu D.
    04/14/2020 16:10

    Do they mean that they made the virus in order for nature to restore its life? It is an excuse worse than sin. Should people be killed in this way for the sake of the ozone layer on them?😠

  • J L.
    04/14/2020 12:28

    Why havent you said that to the world before the pandemic when their was normal flights going on? Why only now that all planes are on the ground, because you are seeing it the other way around.

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