Environment & Biodiversity

What percentage of global CO2 emissions come from aviation?

Aviation contributes 2.5% of worldwide CO2 emissions. However, it has contributed approximately 4% of global warming to date.

Year-wise Global Aviation Demand, Energy Efficiency, and CO2 emissions 

Global Co2 emissions from aviation 

The reason why aviation contributes for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions:

  • CO2 Emissions: When jet fuel burns, it emits carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, much like any other combustion process. CO2, a greenhouse gas, has contributed around 4% of global warming to date.
  • Non-CO2 effects: In addition to CO2, aircraft emissions contain nitrogen oxides, soot, water vapour, and sulphate aerosols. These compounds interact with the atmosphere in a variety of ways, each with its own set of climate implications. For example:
    • Contrails are visible trails of condensed water vapour and ice crystals left behind aircraft in certain meteorological conditions. Contrails can help to generate cirrus clouds, which can warm the temperature.
    • Cirrus cloud formation is also induced by aircraft emissions, which contributes to global warming.

Way Forward:

  • Transitioning to Alternative Fuels: Invest in the research and development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), such as biofuels, hydrogen, or synthetic fuels, which emit less CO2 than traditional jet fuel.
  • Improve Aircraft Efficiency: Promote the use of more fuel-efficient aircraft and technology, such as enhanced aerodynamics, lightweight materials, and efficient engines.
  • Implementing operational improvements: Improve air traffic management systems to optimise flight paths, reduce delays, and save fuel during taxiing, takeoff, and landing. 

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