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The Aviation Industry Vows to Reduce CO2 Emissions

Climate change is a hot topic.

While some people might have qualms with the popular claims about climate change, many governments have jumped on board with trying to stem the tide.

While only 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions result from the transportation industry. The aviation industry has decided to take action.

How Much Does The Aviation Industry Contribute To Greenhouse Gas Emission?

The aviation industry accounts for about 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The industry, if it were a country, would rank tenth in the world for emission contribution.

And by 2020, the amount the industry contributes to greenhouse gasses will be 70% higher.

The industry has decided to reduce CO2 emissions. But how? Let’s take a look.

Technology Improvements Will Stem The Tide

The U.N. International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) recently put out a report that outlines how difficult it would be.

Cutting CO2 would require a major change in how we fuel our jets and airplanes.

According to the report, the aviation industry could reduce their carbon emissions by 50% by 2050.

But this would require the industry to move completely to biofuels.

This would require a complete overhaul in major petroleum refining practices. And it would also require a large expansion of the agricultural sector.

Other technological improvements could help.

Improvements in air traffic management technology and infrastructure could contribute. And various other technologies.

Although the report paints a dire picture, climate scientists are comforted by the industry’s willingness to reduce their carbon footprint.

Market-Based Mechanisms To Reduce Emissions

Better technology is not the only way to reduce carbon emissions.

And biofuels and other technology will likely not help the industry reach its goals.

There are, however, market-based measure that could be useful.

According to the Campaign for Better Transport, the industry could reduce emissions by reducing growth.

They suggest that a surcharge on flight emissions could dissuade flight travel.

Of course, the airlines are not thrilled by this news.

But in October of 2016, the ICAO made a deal.

The deal avoids caps and charges and instead, focuses on planting trees.

That’s right. The aviation industry is getting into the tree planting business.

It’s well known that green things take in CO2 and produce oxygen.

And the industry will commit 2% of its annual revenues to fund forests and other carbon reducing activities.

This is, of course, a voluntary action by the industry.

But after 2020, countries will be able to put in place caps and charges to offset the emissions problem.

aviation industry

Skeptics Abound

Of course, you will always have your skeptics.

With the dire statistics set forth earlier last year, many people agree that this is only a small measure.

But the fact that the industry has voluntarily set aside revenue for climate change efforts is a positive precedent.

Perhaps other industries and countries will follow suit.

The aviation industry is not the only producer of carbon in the world. And many other industries have a responsibility as well.


The news that the industry is attempting to reduce emissions is heartening for most travelers. We are seeing an entire industry shift its practices.

Would you support an airline more readily if they were more green? Let us know in the comments below.