Not the big polluters. When we talk about carbon emissions and carbon footprint, a lot of people have the misconception that aviation would be right on top of the big polluters. I can understand why that happens, we know planes consume a lot of fuel, and that translates into carbon dioxide. Well, that is not the case and data shows that aviation is actually one of the sectors that have fewer emissions.
Your car pollutes more than a plane
According to Our World in Data, when we analyse greenhouse emissions by sector, we find that aviation is responsible for only 1.9% of emissions. Data shows that Transport emits 16.2% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Of that 16.2%, 11.9% go to road transport, 60% of these go to passenger travel, that is our cars, motorcycles and buses. The same data also shows aviation is responsible for only 1.9% of emissions. Within the sector, passenger travel is also on top, with 81% of the aviation total. The reports even show that from passenger travel, international travel is on top with 60%, which I find quite predictable since it involves longer distances and more fuel consumption, and domestic travel last with 40%.
If you look at the Report, you will find that aviation pollutes less than residential or commercial buildings, which are responsible for 10.9% and 6.6% respectively.
Although aviation is not on top of the big polluters, it is a fact that it is still responsible for 1.9% and we need to keep working hard to get that to 0. The sector has been doing so for years. The new aircraft are more fuel efficient, so they consume less, which means fewer emissions. New fuel technology is also available, with the use of SAF and possible use of hydrogen. We’ve seen that the entire sector is engaged in this change, from big plane manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus which have invested in these new technologies and want to produce green aircraft, to the airlines that have been pushing for this change for years. I would dare to say that the future looks green for aviation!